June 23, 2011

Hiking Mt. LeConte: Part 2, the Lodge

We arrived at the lodge around 5pm. After checking in at the office we were shown our accomodations.  Our group had two cabins.  I was in the second cabin.  A woman I met on the trip, Wendy, and I shared the main room, each getting our own twin bed.  I thought that was appropriate because we were the only ones on the trip that didn't know anyone else.  On either side of our room was another room, each with a set of double bunk beds. 

That's right, if I hadn't been super selfish and jumped at the chance for a twin bed I would have had to share a bed with someone I'd only met that morning.  Besides the beds in each room, all the rooms were equipped with a gas heater and two kerosene lamps.  Wendy and I kept making jokes that little Laura and Mary had it better on Little House on the Prairie than we did. 

This is the view from my bed (picture taken without the flash for dramatic effect).  Note that one of the lamps is not lit because the wick would never stay high enough to stay lit. 

This is the view from my bed with the camera's flash on.

So after claiming my bed it was imperative to get a) warm and b) dry.  By the time we get to the lodge the rain had largely stopped but it was still pretty misty since we were, afterall, in a cloud.  Everything I had was soaked.  My jean shorts, despite the fact that they had been washed before, bled blue dye down my legs giving me a nice bruised look.  Not only was I soaking wet but all of my clothes in my pack were soaked too.

When I do something like this again, (or if any of my readers do this) I resolve to pack my clothes in ziploc bags. 

Since my jeans and everything in my pack was soaked I decided to put my jeans in front of the radiator, along with all of my clean clothes, put on the one dry shirt I had which also happened to be long-sleeved, and my down vest, and my compression shorts (spandex shorts) for dinner. 

Dinner was hearty.  A soup course was served first with corn bread (served in a iron skillet!) accompanied by a peach half, water, hot chocolate, coffee, and a $9 bottomless glass of wine.  Funny story about the peach: since it was raining so hard we didn't stop again to eat after lunch.  I got really hungry but the only thing I could remember from their dinner menu was the peach half.  I just kept thinking "I cannot wait to eat that peach half, it is going to be sooo good."  I've never been so excited by canned fruit in my life. 

After soup and bread the servers brought out beef and gravy, mashed potatoes with this huge puddle of butter in the middle, hot cinnamon apples, green beans, and chocolate chip cookies.  I ate and ate and ate. 

Does Jillian Michaels know that climbing a mountain is a major calorie torch?

Sunset was at 855, about an hour after dinner.  That gave me enough time to rotate my clothes in front of the radiator, get my flashlight, and begin making my way up the mountain to the true top, Cliff Top, to watch sunset.

The view was incredible.  It was miraculous but the rain and cloud cover parted ways long enough for a beautiful sunset. 

I feel as though I truly savored that sunset.  I sunk down into the mountain range slow and purposeful.  I tried to soak it in- I was at the top of a mountain!  I did it, I climbed a mountain.  Me!  I knew that I had accomplished something signficant.  Even now, almost a week later, I don't think I entirely understand yet what I did on Saturday.  

I love this picture; it's my new facebook picture.

After the sunset we used our flashlights to climb down the mountain in the (almost) dark.  After that we were so exhausted that by 10pm almost everyone was in bed. 

Tomorrow, the third and final part: the descent.

1 comment:

chereemoore said...

ziplock bags are a must for keeping clothes dry. sorry your clothes all got wet, but happy that you still had a good experience.