Tag Archives: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rescue on Mt. LeConte (part I)

Pete, Jon, David and Scott outside their cabin on Mt. LeConte.
From left: Pete, Jon, David and Scott outside the dinning area at Mt. LeConte.

This is the first of a two-part account of a rescue two weekends ago on Mt. Leconte. It’s based on a trip report written by Jon Holliday and a subsequent interview. Part two will run Thursday.

Jon Holliday and his buddies were amused by the guy lugging a beach chair and umbrella up the rugged five-mile trail to 6,594-foot Mt. LeConte last Saturday. What’s the deal? they asked. “I just want a comfortable place to sit and watch the sun set over Tennessee,” the fellow told them.
“We thought it was pretty silly at the time,” Jon recalled this week. “It turned out he ended up playing a pivotal role in all this.”
“All this” was the worst-case hiking scenario that would unfold a day later as Jon, who lives in Cary, Pete Sprague of Asheville, David Sprague of Boone and Scott Duffy of Charlotte headed back down the mountain. It’s a scenario that likely crosses every hiker’s mind at some point.
What happens when you fall in the backcountry and can’t get up? read more

Why I hike: the great outdoors

There are things you do that you just don’t think about — you just do. Hiking is one of those things for me. Hitting the trail is just a part of life, as natural, nearly, as eating and drinking, sleeping and breathing. But every once in a while it’s good to pause and think about our motivation, to look at why we do the things we do. For the next three days, I will, quickly (in about 500 words) look at what it is that makes me hike. read more

Ten hikes for the End of Days (for 2012, that is)

The views atop Shortoff Mountain on the east rim of Linville Gorge are crisp on a winter's day.

Throughout much of North Carolina, the forecast through New Year’s Day couldn’t be much better for one thing.

Taking a hike.

In the Triangle, for instance, we’re looking at daytime highs in the mid- to upper 40s and sunny to partly sunny skies through New Year’s Day. Good timing since most of you likely have some time off over this same time period. Since the weather today is universally ugly and thus ideal for planning, we offer 10 hikes especially well-suited for this time of year. Look ‘em over, consult the listed sources for additional information. If nothing tickles your hiking fancy, head over to our sister site, NCHikes.com, for more options. read more

This weekend: There’s much merry to be made (if you don’t mind a little rain)

The Carolina Mountain Club pays a visit to Mount Sterling in the Great Smokies this weekend.

Rain is in the forecast for much of North Carolina, but don’t let that douse your plans. Dress appropriately (you do have a Gore-Tex tweed jacket, don’t you?) and you’ll be fine.


Silence is golden. Especially when you’re eavesdropping. And particularly especially when you’re eavesdropping on nature. read more

Exclusive Mountains-to-Sea Trail club grows to 25

Finding Sharon McCarthy's car in a parking lot is pretty easy.

Yesterday, Sharon McCarthy stopped to look at the white dot on the tree trunk, the last of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of such white dots she had seen over the past 22 months.


Robert Williams and I waited. Sharon, a k a Smoky Scout, was yards away from becoming the sixth person this year and only the 25th total to complete the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. She was staring down her last blaze, and the two of us, her escorts for her final day, were expecting a profound statement. Maybe not “One-small-step …” profound, but something worthy of completing a nearly 1,000-mile journey. read more