Last year around this time I wrote a post highlighting my trip to Mt. LeConte. This year instead of me making the trip with my sweet Momma, I took my friend Meagan up the mountain. This week has been uncharacteristically cold for East Tennessee and the weather forecast was not optimal prior to our hike. We knew it was going to be freezing so we dressed accordingly. This is the first time in 12 hikes to LeConte that I’ve ever had to dress warmly.
The hike was just like I remember it being and I let Meagan lead the way. She is faster than me and although I didn’t feel pressured to keep up, it did help having someone in front to sort of set the pace. We met a lot of nice fellow hikers who told us it sure was cold up at the top. As we got closer to the summit, the temperature drop was more than evident and once we rounded the final curve to the lodge all the trees were completely white from a combo of frost and snow. Brrr. Turns out it was a hearty 28 degrees. We were fortunate that the dining hall had hot chocolate for purchase and a wooden fire burning. I have never been so grateful for hot chocolate in my entire life.
We signed the book, bought a shirt for my Momma, and just put our feet up for a bit while talking to some really nice hiker women who were from our area. After resting about an hour or so we headed back down colder than ever but warmed up a little once we got moving. My knees and quads hurt pretty bad coming down the mountain but nothing unbearable. Right as we were about to make it back to the car some women in front of us stopped to point out two bears in a tree. They must not be cold enough to go into hibernation yet.
Even though it was frigid, I was so thankful to get 10 miles of hiking in and I’m glad I got to sign the book for my 12th consecutive year. Can’t wait to do it again (hopefully with Momma) and feel the burn all over again.