The Adventures of Stinky Sweet:

Sometimes stinky. Sometimes sweet. But it's our life - and it is always good.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mt. Leconte

Sorry it has been a while again. It is just a busy, busy life.

Update on last weekend's trip to Mt. Leconte in the Great Smoky Mtns. National Park. Admittedly, it wasn't as bad as last year - that pretty much sums it up. I don't think I was in any better shape this year because I had not been able to train as much as I would have liked. Last year's hike in was about 8 miles and gained about 300-ish feet per mile. This year's hike in was "only" about 5 miles but gained about 500-ish feet per mile. So, yes, it was steeper but I think the second half was way worse than the first (which lulled you into a false sense of "oh, this isn't so bad"). Either way, we arrived at Alum Cave Bluffs about halfway in and I would totally hike that trail again - it winds along a creek for the first mile plus and it was cool, scenic, and lovely. The second hike was a little closer to torture so we won't get into that. The last .2 mile is level - rocky and slippery - but level and it is the most welcome blessing.

The hike out was a different story. Closer to 7 miles and downhill all the way. I know, you'd think that would be easy but downhill for that many miles is pretty hard on your body. Knees, hips, and toes can start hurting pretty fast. I did pretty good following along with the rest of our mixed-aged group but about 2.5 miles form the bottom I was really ready to be done. I sort of booked it and left the rest of them to fend for themselves (figuring they would catch up with me if something happened!) We - Meg and I - finished about an hour before the rest of our group but that hour was a take off your shoes and air out your feet miracle.

I had decided that I was going to make the best of a long uphill trip before we ever got started on Friday so I spent a lot of time trying to be intentionally thankful for things. I thanked God for my breath, my healthy body that could hike, the scenery, the family and friends I was with, the view...and for waterproof hiking boots. :) It was a nice test in determination and thankfulness. Sadly, I might do it again.

If you have never hiked to Leconte, I suggest you do it just once. It is a pretty cool experience. Super rustic, no electricity - just the folks you love and a nice view when there isn't lots of fog. Dinner and breakfast are included as part of your ticket along with beds in some pretty sweet cabins. Tickets sell out over a year in advance and they are closed during the winter because it isn't really accessible so get tickets now for the year after next. It's worth it...even the climb. 
In other good news, I sent in my Chacos to the "Re-Chaco" folks. The soles were coming off - like separating  from the footbed, which they should not do. I hoped it was a warranty thing and I wouldn't have to pay to get them fixed. Thankfully, it was. Their customer service is top notch. I was only without my shoes about 2 weeks from sending them off to getting them back. And they were repaired free of cost - I even got to pick which sole design they fixed them with. This is my "so happy to have my Chacos back the day we left for our hiking trip" face. :)