GSMNP section Porters to Cosby via LeConte (My Blog)

7:28 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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So last weekend I wanted to hit a tough hike for exercise and also do one of the higher routes you can do in the Smokies. So I parked at Cosby campground in the early morning and paid a shuttle service to drop me off in the Greenbrier valley at the Porters Creek trailhead. My preferred shuttle is AAA Hiker Service.

 

The Porters creek trail officially ends at campsite 31 and I had originally intended to traverse on old non-maintained man-way up to the AT from there. But upon arrival I found the woods to still be quite wet from the previous days rains and opted to go another way rather than take a half day of soaking. 

So my new route: 

Day 1 Porters Creek to Brushy Mountain, detour to Myrtle Point on Mt LeConte, Boulevard to AT, stop beyond Charlie's Bunion for the night. (19.1 miles / 30.7 kilometers) (about 4700 feet /1432 meters of gain) 

Day 2 Continue AT past Pecks, Past TriCorner, explore Balsam Mtn a bit, back to AT, down Snake Den, out to Cosby (20 miles / 32 kilometers) (too lazy to calculate total elevation changes) 

 

 

 

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On the way up Brushy Mtn, I encountered a professional paid trail crew. Note the heavy canvas gaiters.

 

 

 

 

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Me looking at a neat thin cascade on Brushy Mtn.

 

 

 

 

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The ash berries are in strong and can be seen in piles of bear scat all over the Smokies right now.

 

 

 

 

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Upon reaching the LeConte Lodge, I ran into the lama pack. I'm pretty sure only me and them actually carried anything up the mountain. I'm also sure I'm the only doofus that took a 9.1 mile route to the summit (it can be summited in less than 6 miles via Alum Cave), but I liked my choice. Those solar panels are fairly new I think and I don't like them there. Heck, I would rather the lodge not be there.

 

 

 

 

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This guy is just not impressed with anything.

 

 

 

 

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There were low clouds obscuring most every view on and off all day. This was Myrtle Point.

 

 

 

 

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Shale cut away on the Boulevard trail.

 

 

 

 

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This is a view from the Charlie's Bunion bypass trail. Hey Gonzan, the manway that you and I are going to do comes up just on the other side of the closest spur you see here. Looks pretty intimating from up here, but hey if the Southern Highlanders can do it we got it in the bag. lol

 

 

 

 

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A favorite off trail overlook here (still part of the bunion spur I guess)

 

 

 

 

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This is a long way down and you want to watch your footing up here.

 

 

 

 

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This was my private special camp and is as much as I'll show of it.

 

 

 

 

 

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And the sun went down an awesome day of backpacking.

 

 

 

 

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The clouds were still drifting in and out the next day but they did make for some neat lighting effects.

 

 

 

 

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This was from Bradley's view.

 

 

 

 

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What a weird weather day.

 

 

 

 

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You must take advantage of the sun (however brief) when you need to dry out the gear.

 

 

 

 

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View from Deer Creek Gap

 

 

 

 

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I stopped to check out a favorite "secret" off-trail campsite and was disappointed to see that an ATC trail crew had commandeered my spot (not so secret after all). Pictured is just their kitchen area; they had more than a half dozen tents scattered over the mountain top.

 

 

 

 

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So they can use an electric bear fence, screw hooks in the trees, and mash out a big camp but I can't legally camp leaving only a dry spot where I sleep? No, I'm not bitter, lol.

 

 

 

 

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And I'll end with a fitting parting shot of a little fall on Snake Den and my last water crossing of the trip.

 

 

 

Happy Trails and I hope you enjoyed reading my blog!

10:29 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice report Patman. They had one of those electric fences at 71 last weekend.

10:31 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Beautiful pictures!  Nice trip report!

8:04 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice report, Patrick! I love that area. I've got to get back there soon!

Thanks for sharing. I loved the pictures.

10:59 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Great Pics!! looks like a fun trip

11:07 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Some great views in those shots. Thanks for sharing!

I don't have the strength to carry that fancy bear fence.  Guess I'll just have to keep eating spicy dinners and using the gas cloud defense 8P

11:20 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks all....

 

yeah it's intersting they still use the bear fence. I witnessed a bear push through one last year; of course maybe the battery was dead, I know I didn't walk up and touch it to find out.

The ATC trail crews are pretty neat and they seem to have a tradition of setting up a group kitchen for big meals. I passed the crew for this camp later in the day and there were 8 or 10 of them. I met a crew two years ago that I pitched in with and wound up camping with. Good folks....

They are funded by the ATC whereas the first group I posted a pitcure of were independant contractors funded by the park service.

12:20 p.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice shots Patrick..Really like the Bradley View..Looks like you had another great hike..

4:08 p.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for sharing your pictures and report. Impressive mileage and elevation gains. 

I can't help noting that the professional trail crew had "heavy canvas gaiters" as well as the tried-and-true duct-tape gaiters.  I think I have a pair like that around here somewhere. 

 

Thanks again for the trip report.

10:58 p.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Great pics!  I need more vacation time so I can spend time in the Smokies.  My brother lives in Oak Ridge and has done a lot of those trails.

July 31, 2014
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