Date: January 18, 2003
Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount LeConte
Eight, Four, Two Pole and Guest Marsh Wilkes set out from Two Pole's cabin early in the AM with the porch thermometer reading a balmy 0 degrees upon departure. Granny, Whiteman, Snowman, Bomber, Nena and Guest Laura Pounders had stayed the night in the limelight of Pigeon Forge and had enjoyed a warmer overnight temperature of around 9 degrees.We learn on the weather report that our destination for the night, Mount LeConte, had and overnight temperature of only -10 degrees and around 14 inches of snow. We also learn that all roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed due to the snow.
We all knew that this would make for a two mile longer hike of the mountain and more elevation gain, as we would have to start from the locked gate near the park boundary. While several made the trip to Tennessee, only the seasoned (or maybe crazy) few set out on the hike up Tennessee's third highest peak on this chilly morning.
Two Pole and Marsh started earliest with Whiteman, Snowman, Bomber, Nena and Laura starting shortly thereafter. Laura made the decison shortly after engaging in the hike that a motel with Granny back in Pigeon Forge would suit her much better for the night and defected from the party.
The hike for all was much slower than usual due to the fresh snow that encumbered the trail. Everyone did make it to the top in time for supper, however some were just in time to eat.
In an expression of the great feat accomplished by climbing the mountain in such conditions, Bomber does a graceful triple somersault down a steep enbankment of snow on the summit and scored a 9.9.
The nights meal was crude, even by backcountry standards as we all forced down ribeye and t-bone steaks. Most everyone had a good nights sleep as the nights temperature was a much warmer -6 degrees than the previous nights -10. (Are we having fun yet???)
The next morning, after a breakfast of bacon, sausage and eggs. Whiteman, Snowman, Bomber and Nena scurried down off the mountain back to civilization.
Two Pole and Marsh decided that they were having so much fun in the cold that they would stay an additional night. Another crude evening meal of crayfish pasta, oysters, scallops and hushpuppies was forced down.
The next morning Two Pole and Marsh decided that it was time to head south for warmer weather and they descended the mountain too.
Submitted by Two-Pole Tim
Looking forward to next winters hike!
Cold But Clear Day On LeConte Marsh Keeping His Nose Warm
LeConte Shelter Two-Pole Takes A Break