Hike to Top of Mt. LeConte-day one
Six weeks ago Roger and I took a hike in the Smokie Mountains National Park up to Mt. LeConte. Mt. LeConte is quite beautiful! Halfway up our 5 ½ mile hike up we realized that this was going to be quite the adventure as we held the cables attached to the mountain trail alongside the cliffs.
The trail at times was a sheet of ice with no where else to put your feet. If it wasn’t for the cables that were bolted to the mountains, we would have not been able to make it to the top. With a bit of slipping and sliding we finally made it up! Snow covered the grounds and we could see layers of mountains for miles. It was a sight to see!
Near the top of Mt. LeConte is a lodge that has been there since 1925. The only way to get to the Lodge is to hike and it is only open from late March to late November. There are no roads to the Lodge and all supplies are packed-in on Llamas. We came home from this hike and set up a reservation to stay there right before our trip to Nepal.
So on March 20th we went back to Mt. LeConte to stay at the Lodge. There are about 5 or 6 different trails that you can choose from to get there. The trails range from 5 ½ to 9 miles. A couple of the trails have beautiful waterfalls. We decided to go up Rainbow Falls trail, about a 7 mile hike to the Lodge.
Even though we were not experiencing the snow and ice this time, it was still quite the adventure. The trail was beautiful! Moss layered throughout the land touching her gentle touch on everything. The trees stood strong throughout, their roots intertwining with the land and each other and even growing over rocks and on sides of the mountains. The bubbling streams sang their joyful songs. And when the trail curved around the mountain, we could see miles of hills, mountains and sky. It was easy to see and feel the interconnectedness of all life. We are all a thread in the great tapestry of life!
About 4 miles in I sensed rain coming. Roger and I looked around for signs of rain, but the sky seemed peaceful. I could not shake the feeling and smell of rain coming, so we stopped and pulled out our rain gear for our backpacks and our selves. Within minutes of putting the rain gear on it started to rain. Not just drops of rain, but big rain, thunder and lightning. I was so glad to once again follow my intuition and connection to the earth.
I started to feel quite anxious with the sounds of the loud thunder and the large drops pouring down upon me. And began a fast pace to get to the top quickly. I asked Roger if we were safe with the lightning and he assured me that we were. I still felt a deep anxiety and started to do what I call “light” work. In essence I started to connect more deeply with the divine within. Breathing into that feeling while turning my fear over to “it’s” love; affirming that I am safe and protected by all the elements. Within about 20 minutes of hiking and doing light work, I felt a peace come over me that reassured me that we would be okay.
We continued through the rain for the next two miles. At one point we saw two young women around twenty years old with very little preparation for the hike down. We loved them up a bit, but I was wishing I had a poncho or something that they could use to cover up with. The skies looked a lot clearer in the direction that they were going.
The last mile was the hardest. With the rain coming down, and the lodge was nowhere in sight, all we could do was keep on walking. Our pace continued quite quickly. The last miles , Roger kept a steady pace behind me, but when we finally saw the last .7 mile sign, he passed me and took off. I could hardly keep up with him. We were really ready to be there. Hiking in the rain definitely added a new flavor to the hike.
We arrived at 5:20 pm, and dinner was to be served at 6:00. It seemed to have stopped raining shortly after we had arrived. We were shown our cabin without electricity, we used kerosene lights. We had a few minutes to clean up before the dinner bell rang.
The bell rang, and all 60 of us guests headed to the the one room dining hall with 6-8 large tables in which we all had an assigned table. Large amounts of food bowls were placed on each table, and everyone ate quite hardily since we all worked hard to get to the lodge.
After dinner, Roger and I headed out for an after dinner stroll in the mountains. We went to the top of the mountain to watch the sunset, and then over to the lean to where 12 people were staying. After another two miles added on to our day, we headed back to the lodge and visited with other guests in the main room.
We went to our cabin fairly early and shuffled around each other in our close quarters to get ready for bed. The cabin was a little bigger than the bunk bed that was in it. Just enough room to walk around, but not a whole lot more.
In the middle of the night, we both were quite cold. We discovered that the top of the bunk bed was a lot warmer. Finally after settling up there we fell asleep. getting ready for our hike back down.
But what a beautiful day this day was. I am so grateful and full in my heart.