The Smokies!

August 28, 2021

Amber, Mindy, Brandi, Amanda, Lisa, Jennifer and I

I met Amber at Bonus Defeat. We hit it off right away. She invited me to go on this 18 mile hike in the smokies. I said yes although I was a little concerned about the heat, the mileage, the elevation, well all of it. Plus she’s like 35 and I am not! But I went. I invited Lisa to go with me. Not that that makes it easier because she could do it in her sleep. I was actually the oldest. We had 2 thirty somethings, 2 40 somethings and 3 of us in our 50’s.

I have to say nothing like an incredible tribe of women to turn 18 miles and 3000 ish ft of elevation into a pleasure! All the women were so awesome and we all got along great!

We started at Trilliam Gap Trailhead and immediatly headed uphill towards Grotto Falls, which is 3.5 miles away. That trail followed the road for a long way then kept going up till we got to the falls. It was in a corner where the trail swung left and weird thing was it was cold here! We took lots of pics and had some snacks.

The trail continued uphill towards the Brushy Mountain. We took the turn to go up to see the views. It just dead ends up there and back down you go.

We sat at the cross roads for a bit and had a snack. Then continued on the trail toward Mt. LeConte. It was 3.6 miles away. It was a beautiful trail.

The closer we got to the top we all realized and saw evidence of the LLamas. They make the trek to the lodge 3 times a week. They bring supplies up and trash down. Turns out that Amanda is kind of a local celebrity in these parts because almost everyone we passed knew her. Luckily when we arrived where the parade of Llamas were she knew them too. They let us get near the LLamas and take pictures with them. I have always wanted to see them. Mindy is a llama finatic and no one was more excited then her!

We are almost to the lodge now. After another 1/2 mile we reached the lodge. There is a bunch of cabins, a dining hall, bathrooms, showers and a store with a nice porch to sit on. We all sat on the porch. Amber wanted to go to Myrtle Pointe because it has a very special personal meaning to her. Brandi and I stayed here and Amber, Amanda and Lisa headed to it. I think its about 3/4 of a mile each way. It ends with stunning views of the back side of LeConte.

We met a guy (who took this picture) whose family makes the trek up here every summer and stays in the one of the cabins. He said they have been doing it for over 20 years ever since he was about 6 when his grandparents brought them up. This is a pack it in pack it out place. There is no where for trash. I believe its a 1 night stay also. They had a standing reservation. There were a couple of kids with them that made that climb we just did!

We all rested and snacked then got ready for our trek back down. What I did not know was we were going down a rarely traveled Bull head Trail. Its 7 miles down and is not the easiest decent. It is an awesome trail and passes through where the fires were in 2016 and were intentionally started at the Chimney tops and burned for miles even through Gatlinburg, It skirted the cliffs and was a beautiful but tough trail. We were kind of in a hurry figuring we would be finishing in the dark. The sun started setting near the wildfire area.

These were some of the best views on the hike but this was also mile 15 – 18! I was seriously getting tired.

Not quite dark!

We finished but it wasn’t quite dark. What a great day. We all made new friends on this trip and I definitely hope to keep in touch and hike again with each one of them!

Only bad thing is we are driving 4 ish hours back home so Lisa can go to work at 5 am!

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