Saturday, June 27, 2009

More from the trip to the Smokies

Since everything is dry and parched outside I decided to show more photos of the cool and green Smokies. As I mentioned we hiked several miles while there. One of our favorites was the hike to Mt. Leconte Lodge. There are a few trails to choose from to access it, but our favorite is the Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. You can only access this lodge by foot, sorry but no cars.As you can see by the sign, it was 5 miles to the lodge. When walking this trail before we always stopped at the bluff and never continued on to the lodge. So this was an exciting and new experience for us.I love seeing shrubs and flowers in their natural habitat. Rhododenron was blooming everywhere.There were beautiful sights everywhere and this interesting rock formation. It's called "Eye of the Needle". You can see the opening thru the rock.This is the bluff area. If you enlarge you can see my honey standing over there. Little squirrels greet you here with hopes of a nibble or two of a snack. Unfortunately for them, our snacks would be going with us on the rest of the hike.The hike from the bluff was pretty tough. Lots and lots of uphill. We ran across a couple of guys who pointed out to us where we were headed. See the little notch at the top of the mountain? That is where we were headed. Trust me, it looked like a long way off and it really, really was. You had to be very careful walking on this trail or take a wrong step and hello, you'd be seeing the trail from a completely different view.There was lots of rocky, wet and slippery edges. Thanks to the National park for putting up these cable guides to hang onto. We were oh so glad when we finally came upon the lodge. As you can see, it's a bunch of small cabins grouped together. The views up there were really incredible. You can see how high we were by the elevation posted on the dining room. There's several interesting tidbits about staying here. First off, you have to book a reservation 6-12 months in advance. They serve a wonderful dinner and breakfast to their guest. There is no electricity or running water. It is only open 9 months(I think) out of the year. Last year it never reached 80 degrees up there. When we left the lodge we decided to take a little jaunt out to Cliff Tops. I think it was the highlight of the whole day. I can't relay to you how peaceful and gorgeous this was.When I look at this photo, to me, the background looks like a backdrop. I could have sit there all day taking in God's glory. Whenever we find ourselves in the Smokies again we will definitely take this trail again.

Hope you enjoyed this segment of our trip.

30 comments:

Mildred said...

I enjoyed this so much Susie. A long time ago, I did quite a bit of hiking and these views remind me of those days. I've never been to these areas before and it's so nice to enjoy your scenery. I can just imagine how peaceful and how close you felt to God in these surroundings.

Ginger said...

Wow, that was quite a hike - I'm impressed! That scene from the top is amazing. I love going back to pictures like that when I feel stressed out in daily life - they really take you back!

Terri said...

Those are lovely photos, aren't they? Some friends of mine do that hike every few weeks and one of these days I'm going to join them! :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Susie, I had no idea you all went all the way to LeConte.. That's amazing. We've never done it --but if we did, we'd probably take one of the other trails (longer but safer).. I have too darn much fear around those bluffs--and I'm just too darn old now. Darn!!!!

We have good friends (younger than we are) who go to LeConte every single year (different times of the year) and stay up there overnight. They call a year ahead and get reservations.. A couple of years ago, it snowed while they were up there.

I'm so glad you went. The view from the Cliff Tops is incredible. I could stay there forever.

Did you pass any waterfalls???

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

George said...

Thanks for taking us along on your hike. We have never hiked this particular trail -- no waterfalls -- so I was glad to enjoy it with you. I hope you get back here often.

Dorothy said...

Susie,
This looks like such fun! Wish I were younger, and I might go. Wonderful pictures!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Susie, the views are spectacular!Thanks for including the blooms too. I can imagine how peaceful and how lovely the mountains must be. Thank you for showing this portion of your beautiful country.

Have a great Sunday!

Rosey Pollen said...

Susie,
I enjoyed all your pictures, like the flowers, a lot. Thanks for sharing your hike with us. It's
good you get to have opportunity to hike in the smokies. I remember how beautiful they are in the Fall. We went through ONCe many years ago.
Rosey

NatureStop said...

Really enjoyed your trip.Wow! that was some trecking..Great views and nice images.

Darla said...

Holy cow! That was a long way. What an adventure.

Beth said...

Breathtaking views. This might be the closest I get to the Smokies. :O( Thanks for sharing.

Becky said...

Loved the picture of Davey baby on the bluff.....wouldn't have even seen him if you hadn't pointed him out!!! God is amazing......what a beautiful world we live in.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Really pretty Susie. We are taking a short trip to Red River,NM in a week. We are just going to do some hiking--your pictures are getting me excited about being in the mountains again!
I know what you mean about plants being scorched--it was 103 here yesterday! whew!

Daisy said...

Wow, Susie, that was all so beautiful. You're braver than I doing all that hiking. I would be afraid of the height and afraid of falling on those trails. I really enjoyed your photos. :)

perennialgardener said...

What a beautiful place to visit Susie. I love the rustic cabins. :)

Rose said...

This is a gorgeous view, Susie! After such a long hike, those cabins must have been a welcome sight. This makes me want to go on a hike, but I'd have to stay on level ground:)

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

How pretty and that view is amazing. I bet it would be fun to stay at the lodge.

Naturegirl said...

Susie! I can appreciatet this hike that you took since I also hiked several mountains while in Arizona this past winter. The highest
I hike with my hubby was
2050 ft...almost killed me..pant pant!!We ran out of water on the way down..bad thing because of the high temps in the AZ desert even though it was Spring.
I can only dream of hiking this amazing experience that you share with us today! Amazing views!
Thank you for saharing and for holding me in prayer after reading my latest post. hugs aNNa xo

Roses and Lilacs said...

Beautiful scenery. I would love to live in a place where the temperatures never got above 80 degrees.
Marnie

deedee said...

That is definitely God's country! You two did some serious hiking - glad ya'll made it up and back safe and sound :)

Jen said...

I gotta get back there one of these days. You look like you are enjoying yourself up there on that ridge.

marmee said...

i love looking back when finished hiking to see just where you have come from...one of our favourite places in lake louise, cananda. wonderful hike up to a tea house.

Gail said...

Susie...it's a wonderful and beautiful park...I've never hiked up to La Conte or seen photos of the cabins. So thank you very much! gail

Leedra said...

Enjoyed the post...I have never climbed to Leconte Lodge, and never will I am sure. Was glad to get to see it from you.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

How beautiful, Susie. I bet you felt like you had found a bit of heaven. Thanks for sharing your wonderful vacation with us.

TC said...

Whew! I'm wore out after hikin up that big "hill!"

jen said...

wow!! Gorgeous photos Susie!! I would love to travel the country and do some hikeing!! Maybe in a few more years when all of the kids are at a good age!!

Thanks for sharing!

Jen

KathyB. said...

Amazing and beautiful hike,it looks like it was well worth the effort.The picture of your Honey in The Eye Of The Needle is a great one. I remember back packing trips with my husband, many years ago...and miss them.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hi Susie, here's wishing you a happy 4th!

Miss Sandy said...

Breathtaking views! What a unique place to stay. I would so love to visit the Smokey Mountains.