Home > south > Rush Hour: Alum Cave Bluffs to Mt. LeConte (Day 92)

Rush Hour: Alum Cave Bluffs to Mt. LeConte (Day 92)

Read the scene where gravity is pulling me around.

I miss being young enough to think R.E.M. is/was cool.

Went on this hike:

alum-cave_creekAlum Cave Creek

alum-cave_arch-rockArch Rock, or: I’ve now seen a shot for which it would’ve been nice to have a tripod available.

alum-cave_cave-viewThe view from under the overhang of Alum Cave.

alum-cave_trail-cableThe trail!

alum-cave_lodge_stepsThe stairway leading out of the peak-side lodge.

alum-cave_me-at-peakThe actual peak — it’s not the highest in Tennessee.

alum-cave_cliffsThe Cliff Tops.

alum-cave_me-on-cliffsIbid, but with me in the photo.

alum-cave_lodgeA mountain-top hillbilly village!

alum-cave_trail-treesTree tunnel.

alum-cave_trail-cliff-telkTelkontar goes into the light.

alum-cave_trail-falls-cableRain-fed, trail-crossing cascade.

alum-cave_colorYes, they have fall color in Tennessee as well.

alum-cave_cliff-in-mistThey’re called the “Smoky Mountains” because there are clouds there.

alum-cave_log-bridgeA log bridge!

alum-cave_tree-tunnel-creekCreek with trees.

alum-cave_creek-downstreamSame stream, some fallen leaves, trees, and more great smoke.

Ten or 11 miles, out-and-back, 2,800 feet in elevation gain. Went to the lodge, then continued to the peak, then swung by the Cliff Tops before heading down. We saw Jimmy Carter hiking down when we were on the way up. No joke. Didn’t take any photos of him, of course — I mean, it was just Jimmy Carter, not Calvin Coolidge or anything. Most crowded hike I’ve been on the whole trip (excluding the last two miles on the way down from Half Dome). Either the Smoky Mountains visitors are a hardy bunch or there are just *that* *many* of them. (Truly, the park is choked with visitors, bad weather or no.)

With good weather, this is possibly an A-plus hike. In steady-state drizzle? It was still nice. Wish there would have been a view — any view — along the way. The trail was made for views, what with all those ledges and such. Fortunately, the trail itself had some interesting stuff along the way — log bridges, cable-aided narrow walkways, drop-offs into oblivion, steps through arched rocks, weird accommodations at the top. All it needed was views. And maybe a lighthouse. And if there’d been a family of trolls living under any of those bridges that would snatch maybe every seventh hiker or so, that also would have added interest (and thinned the crowd).

Great hiking with Telkontar, of course. He was less affected by the lack of views, no doubt in part because his alternative was being stuck in an office. Whereas my alternative was… sky’s the limit, really.


PS, This hike was in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  1. telkontar
    October 19th, 2009 at 21:43 | #1

    Remember that one person hiking up wsa using a cane.

  2. telkontar
    October 20th, 2009 at 05:39 | #2

    The way I heard the story was that no pictures were taken of Jimmy Carter were taken because you guys did not realize it was him until after he had left. Until then, at least telkontar was wondering why this old guy was standing there blocking the path, taking to you.

    Mrs. Telkontar

  3. October 20th, 2009 at 06:57 | #3

    I thought it was Jimmy Carter when he stopped. But let’s say this: if I’d thought to take a picture of Jimmy Carter, I still wouldn’t have.

  4. telkontar
    October 20th, 2009 at 08:03 | #4

    So it was just telkontar that was not aware…

    So if “the sky is the limit” because you have no job, the country really shouldn’t be complaining about a 10% unemployment rate. I thought the stimulus money supposed to create jobs was just a waste of money. Turns out it is a left wing conspiracy to limit our potential.

  5. October 20th, 2009 at 12:05 | #5

    Conspiracy implies the capacity to plan, which I think is giving too much credit. IMHO.

  6. Craig Dunn
    October 20th, 2009 at 12:08 | #6

    I am now proud to have a picture published on the internet. (Copyright 2009. All rights reserved, by the way.)

    Not recognizing James Carter does not sound like a material shortcoming in any person.

    It’s good to know that Telkontar can hold down a full-time job and get out to the mountains on occasion, not minding wind, mist, and rain (or snow, for that matter). He is an inspiration to us all. Power on, Telk!

  7. October 21st, 2009 at 21:58 | #7

    You should have taken the photo–he’s getting too much copy. At least stop before you get to 1,000 words.

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