Visitors to Ocracoke often ask residents where we go for vacation. Almost every fall I travel to East Tennessee to hike in the Great Smokey Mountains. For more than twenty-five years I have met friends there, and we hike to the top of Mt. LeConte. At the summit is a log cabin lodge where we spend the night. The only way to get to the lodge is by walking one of five trails (each one is from 5 to 9 miles long). This year I took the Rainbow Falls Trail (6.6 miles with an elevation gain of about 4,000 feet) which passes the highest water drop in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
Mt. LeConte is more than 6,000 feet high, but this islander (who lives at a mere 4 feet above sea level) manages the trek up with little difficulty (but the descent this year gave my lower back a fit!). I just returned home last night. The weather was great, though skies were cloudy at the top, so there were no spectacular mountain views this year.
Here are a few links with information and photos of Mt. LeConte:
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of an article Philip wrote about sailing aboard the historic two-masted schooner, Mary E. It was originally published in the Washington Post in 1976. You can read it here: