As usual every September/October, Bob and Sam are in Gatlinburg for their annual Smoky Mountain hike. They left on Wednesday (09/28) and they'll return on Sunday (10/02).
Thursday's hike took them to LeConte via the Appalachian and the Boulevard Trails. Total mileage: 16.5 miles. "OMG. Pooped." were Bob's only two words to describe the day.
"Mt. LeConte Myrtle Point. Incredible!"
"Sam proudly displaying his House of Heroes medal from the Patricia O'Neal Rehab Center in Knoxville where he was several years earlier getting rehab from a car crash on Jelicho mountain."
"A rock slide along the trail. Cables anchored into the rock to assist your crossing."
"Along the Boulevard trail"."
"A white painted blaze on a tree noting we're on the AT."
"From along the trail."
"Our hike starts at Newfound Gap along the AT. Only 1972 miles to Katahdin Maine ... Just kidding."
"Sam and his breakfast: Cinnamon n' spice pancakes and crispy bacon."
"My breakfast. French toast and crispy bacon."
Friday started with breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, too. Bob's "hearty breakfast" (above) was a "Banana Pineapple Triumph" and a side order of crispy bacon. Sam had French toast.
"And so our journey begins."
"Hurting from yesterday's 16.5 mile hike. Gonna do a much shorter road hike out in the Greenbrier area," Bob said.
"Six miles today in the Greenbrier area," Bob later wrote. "The actual trailhead to Ramsey Cascade Falls is closed due to storm damage. Large tree down over vital bridge crossing the creek."
"I didn't like that bridge anyway," Bob said. "Too long. Too high. Twenty-some feet over the water and large boulders."
Saturday: "Had breakfast and back at the condo prepping for today's hike. Mt. LeConte by way of Alum Cave ...
"The Alum Cave trail to LeConte is 11.5 miles. Two blisters. Started out at 8:45 am. 44°. 30,000-some steps. Ugh. Beautiful on top."
"View from the top."
"The rock overhang is Cliff Tops on Mt. LeConte ... our destination."
"Other hikers up top. Really busy trail today."