Saturday, January 14, 2017

LeConte Lodge Part 1

A year ago my lifetime friend Kellie won the lottery for LeConte Lodge and we started planning our trip. I had just given birth to Judah but I knew that by September of 2016 he would be one and weaned and I could leave him a couple days to do this trip. I know that I've looked forward to it for an entire year!

Deciding what to pack was a chore. I ended up with a camel pack full of water, a bottle of wine (we each took one), sleeping bag, a few survival items (per Josh's request), several changes of clothes,  Chacos, a few toiletry items, snacks, and my breast pump (Judah was not weaned). I weighed the pack and it was a grand total of 40 lbs. Josh had to pick it up to help me get it on my back. I should have known right then that it wasn't a smart idea for me to hike a 40 lb pack almost 7 miles up a mountain with no training.

We started out leaving my house around 8:30am on September 27th. The drive to Gatlinburg, TN was pretty uneventful and we grabbed some food on the way because we knew it was going to be a long day! The Alum Cave trail which is the post popular trial up to the lodge was closed for repairs so after reading blogs and reviews we decided to take Rainbow Falls trial which was 6.6 miles up to the lodge.

Here we are at the trail head of Rainbow Falls. 

It was brutal. Straight up the mountain. My back, shoulders, legs, entire body was screaming. 

About 3 hours in I decided to pump. Without anyway to keep my milk cold for two days the only option was to dump it for the bears. 

We really tried to soak in nature between the utter exhaustion of hiking these heavy packs. The trail was beautiful and woods serene. We saw 4 other people after we passed the falls in the 4 more hours we hiked up. 

This was about breaking point. We thought that we were so close because the tree line had started to disappear and we were seeing sky. However this .6 mile felt like 10. Kellie left us all in the dirt because it was nearing 6:00 pm when dinner would be served and she wanted to make sure we didn't miss our only meal of the night.  Leslie, Amy and I finally staggered in a few minutes after 6. We dropped our stuff off at our cabin and made our way to the dining hall. 

It was awesome to have hot food, coffee, water and wine waiting for us at the table after 6 hours on the trail. The food was delicious even though it had to be from a can.

This was the cabin we called home for the next two days. We had bunks, a propane heater, and wash basin. It was perfect... well perfect except for the mice that we heard scurrying around above our heads that night. Leslie and I grabbed the peppermint oil and cotton balls and laid those suckers everywhere to ward the mice away. 

The front porch was awesome. Leslie put her Eno up and we all sat our here and talked, read books and watched the beautiful scenery. 

I love this picture of the little cabins in the sky. The air was cool, the sunsets unbelievable. The smell of balsam permeated the air. I was in woodsy heaven!

We grabbed hot water from this only source.. however by the time we got it back to the room it was barely warm. It was still nice for hand washing though!

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