My Favorite on Earth

My favorite place on earth is Mt. LeConte in the Smokies.

Not sure why this place has such a special place in my heart, but it does and I can’t wait to take my girls there.  But until they are old enough to hike up to the top of the mountain, it will just be a place for me and Super and the rest of the crazy Mt. LeConte hikers.

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The first year my Dad got reservations I was in working a demanding full-time job and going to school at night at Belmont, working towards completion of my MBA.  I was taking a horribly tough class with a teacher who was equally horrible (by the way, this was the only teacher that I would say was horrible at Belmont).  Dad got reservations, but the teacher wouldn’t let me take an exam I’d miss in class that day early, so I didn’t get to go….one of my very few regrets in life, if I could do this all over again, I’d say, “screw it, it’s just a grade, let’s go hike!”.  But I didn’t, I went to class and took the exam, while my sister and Dad hiked up.

This will be my 8th trip up (I think….), didn’t make it last year, but the year before I made it up 3 times (May, July and October).  In October, several of us hiked up Trillium to the top.  It was a great trail, even though my Dad dropped me and the rest of the hikers off 1.5 miles off before the trail head.  Having not hiked up this trail before, we were sure exactly where the trail started.  The best part of the story is the voice mail that my Dad left me, that I didn’t get until I got to the top of the mountain.  The message went something like this, “Hi Donita, this is your Dad (***he always identifies his self on the phone, by now I think I know who he is***), we dropped you guys off a little early, maybe 1.5 miles early, ok, well, um, ya’ll just keep hiking and we’ll see you at the top. Love you.”.  KEEP HIKING!  Really?  What other choice did we have?  I love that story.  Yes, we were going to keep hiking and did, of course we did.

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I also turned 30 on this mountain. I hiked up 29 and the next day I turned 30. Great times.

Here’s a few pictures of Mt. LeConte.  This is one of the very few times a year that I can get Super to hike with me.

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I like how the sunset looks on top, but don’t tell any of those hiking up I said that, because I almost refuse to go watch the sunset because the viewing point, Cliff Tops, makes me so nervous….shear drop off!

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TrailHead

This is the trail that we’re taking up this trip (tomorrow) is Alum Cave Bluffs Trail.  It’s not my favorite, but it’s the quickest coming down, which is important to us.  My favorite trail is the Boulevard Trial.  One day, I’ll hike up the Boulevard with my girls for Mother’s Day and we’ll eat lunch at the lodge and then hike down Alum. This of course when everyone is old enough to hike up to the top on their own, go to the bathroom by their selves and when every one is sleeping through the night!

This trial (Alum Cave) is ok, especially when you’ve traveled it as much as we have AND you have the super cool map, found here.
64.  Mt. LeConte

My Favorite Place in the House

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There’s this really cool place in my house, it’s in the hall between my two girls room.

 

If you stand in just the right place at night, when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep you can hear them each sleeping, breathing in their bedrooms.

 

I think about this as I am preparing to visit my favorite place on Earth, Mt. LeConte.  Favorite places can be anywhere.

 

Most Thoughtful Gift Ever

Dear Reader, please meet the poster I’ve been looking for for years and I do mean, YEARS.

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Back more than 5 years ago, I was in Damascus, VA with my Dad and we were looking around in a few of the really awesome hiking stores, I saw this poster.  For some reason (probably because I was being thrifty) I didn’t buy it, but it’s haunted me ever since then.

This is a picture of the end of the Appalachian Trail (if you’re going north bound) at Mt. Katahdin.  I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked for this poster online, but I couldn’t remember the name of it, so I’d google things like “hiker at mt. Katahdin”, “applachian trail hiker”, “hiker at the sign”, just random things thinking that one day I’d get lucky and find this poster for sale at which time I’d buy it for almost whatever amount of money it was being sold for.  Fast forward to today, my Dad and friend found this poster in Damascus last weekend, in a hiking store, in a corner, rolled up.

This was on my Dream List to find one day.  I can’t wait to get this frame.  By the way, those are puzzle pieces holding it out flat, it’s been curled up for a while….but it will soon be in the most awesome frame I can find and hung in a place of honor.