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LECONTE
by Lionel Edney
Photo Credit: "Snowy Bunion" by Philip Royer, SMHC 1999 Photo Contest Winner
January 28-29, 1961

After hundreds of hikes with SMHC, it is hard to pick out one favorite, but this hike and overnight at LeConte Lodge was a particularly memorable one for me and for all who went on it.

The worst ice storm of the winter, accompanied by heavy snowfall in the higher elevations, made it doubtful if we could carry out this operation; however, it takes considerable "weather" to daunt SMHC'ers! Herrick and two helpers hiked up on Friday to get the Lodge ready for us and on Saturday twenty-five others followed their footprints. The day was warm, the sky was a deep blue, and the snow was a sparkling white. Only above the 6000' level was the going difficult since the snow there was two to three feet deep!

John Ellis drove over from South Carolina and followed the tracks upfrom Cherokee Orchard, arriving at the Lodge at 9:00 p.m. Joan Moore and Jerry Foster made it at 11:00 p.m., after breaking trail via Alum Cave for ten hours!

After a lively session in front of the- roaring log fire, all retired for a comfortable night in sleeping bags supplemented by Lodge blankets. A hot supper and breakfast were served by the Lodge staff and every drop of water used during the weekend was snow-melt produced in the kitchen.

Club members were grateful to Herrick and Myrtle for opening the Lodge and providing us with so many comforts. It was winter camping at its most deluxe! Overnighters totaled thirty-one, while three others made the round trip on Sunday. Much newspaper publicity resulted from this trip, including a laudatory editorial in the Oak Ridger.