Like a Bowl of Fruity Pebbles: Leconte 2014!

IMG_4463Tis the season of chocolate! “Have you made any progress in your fitness lately?” “Nope.” I have stalled for the last two months basically because I wanted chocolate, my favorite sin!

That being said though, I did climb a mountain last weekend! And loved it! We beat the snow too because this weekend, apparently Leconte recieved record snows of 22 inches! Don’t laugh if you live near or in the Rockies.  For our Appalachian mountains (and yes they are mountains), November 1st is a little early to get that much.  My parent’s house had 8 inches, not too bad, not too bad.

But! Here are the colorful pictures from our excursion, the colors of which were “like a bowl of fruity pebbles,” said Parker.  Him and his sugary cereals. 🙂

I’ve constructed this post more as a photo essay so enjoy the pictures, but don’t forget the captions!

Alum Caves Trail 5.8 Miles Up!
Alum Caves Trail 5.8 Miles Up!

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Edge of cliff.  No big deal.
Edge of cliff. No big deal.
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Two of the knobs out there are the Chimney Tops, which you can see from my other post from Anna’s wedding weekend. I thought I was up high that time, but here I was looking down on them from much higher!

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We're here!
We’re here!
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When I was little, I would hop up and down these stairs like I hadn’t just hiked up a mountain. So fun to be here again!
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Of course I had to swing.
Part of why you do it... Dining Hall
Part of why you do it… Dining Hall

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But then of course, I made us tack on another 1 and 1/2 miles before dinner to see if the sunrise spot was worth getting up for in the morning!
But then of course, I made us tack on another 1 and 1/2 miles before dinner to see if the sunrise spot was worth getting up for in the morning!
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At the shelter
Anna & Neil
Anna & Neil
Pointing something out? Not our mom... "That was the exact stump I used to sit you on to take your picture." "Sarah, Anna, you have to take a picture next to the dead tree; it's tradition!" :)
Pointing something out? Not our mom… “That was the exact stump I used to sit you on to take your picture.”
“Sarah, Anna, you have to take a picture next to the dead tree; it’s tradition!” 🙂

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It was.  Look at these! Smoky Smoky Mountaints!
The extra distance was so worth it. Look at these! Smoky Smoky Mountaints!
And I don't even know if these particular shots are the best ones I took because I must have taken 40 or more during the pre-dinner trek.
And I don’t even know if these particular shots are the best ones I took because I must have taken 40 or more during the pre-dinner trek.
And sunbeams.  (I learned that sunbeams are actually dirty air that the light catches. Maybe not as pretty knowing that?)
And sunbeams. (I learned that sunbeams are actually dirty air that the light catches. Maybe not as pretty knowing that?)
There was hoar frost on the way to Myrtle Point where the sunrise spot was.
There was hoar frost on the way to Myrtle Point where the sunrise spot was.
For my LDS friends or family, check out Doctrine & Covenants.  Learn something new every day!
Check out Exodus 16:14 by the way! And Doctrine & Covenants 121:11. Learn something new every day!
You have to leave a rock!
You have to leave a rock!
My rock wasn't as cool as this rock.
My rock wasn’t as cool as this rock.
We're above our cabin!
We’re above our cabin!
But we of course needed to settle dinner by heading up to Cliff Tops for sunset! Hardest part of hiking all day just because I was so darn full!
But we of course needed to settle dinner by heading up to Cliff Tops for sunset! Hardest part of hiking all day just because I was so darn full!

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It was worth it though.
It was worth it though.
Mom and her girls (missing Emma).
Mom and her girls (missing Emma).
Ah! True love.
Ah! True love.

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Who's that handsome devil?
Who’s that handsome devil?

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Thanks Emma for the boots!
Thanks Emma for the boots!
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The sunset sky. Always better once it’s down Mom says; she’s right.
We hiked in the dark to see the sunrise.  It felt longer in the dark than the night before.  This picture is of Pigeon Forge's strip.
We hiked in the dark to see the sunrise. It felt longer in the dark than the night before. This picture is of Pigeon Forge’s strip.
Handsome devil again.
Handsome devil again.
Sleepy Eyes.  The view from here really was my favorite.  Both the night before and that morning.  It was almost a 360 view from the top of the rocks.
Sleepy Eyes. The view from here really was my favorite. Both the night before and that morning. It was almost a 360 view from the top of the rocks.
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The next morning, it’s a 9.5 trail down (5.2 to the AT, but then more from their to the car) plus an adventure to the Jump Off, which added another mile. I guess that makes it 10.5!
It almost was like walking through the woods in Gulliver's Travels; I was waiting for some Brownies to hop out of the moss and start shooting arrows at us.
It almost was like walking through the woods in Gulliver’s Travels; I was waiting for some Brownies to hop out of the moss and start shooting arrows at us.
Can't you see them?
Can’t you see them? It could also have been some Lord of the Rings travail.
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Almost set. Another picture tradition first. 🙂
Ready!
Ready!
A Karin marking the way.  This one is a little smaller than the other one I showed you...
A Karin marking the way. This one is a little smaller than the other one I showed you…
Uprooted?!
Uprooted?!
Fruity Pebbles in the distance!
Fruity Pebbles in the distance!
Another bowl?
Another bowl?
And some more?!
And some more?!
1972.0 miles to the end of the Appalachian Trail from where our hike ended.  I'll leave it at what we did for this year.  I can't understand how people's joints handle the AT.
1972.0 miles to the end of the Appalachian Trail from where our hike ended. I’ll leave it at what we did for this year. I can’t understand how people’s joints handle the AT.
I don't know how old I was here, but this is a picture from some year up here!
I don’t know how old I was here, but this is a picture from some year up here! This was my mom’s 22nd trip up to Leconte.
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This is the snow that followed one weekend later. Parker and I said we would have been miserable hiking in this.

In short, I have discovered in this last year that it is incredibly fun to revisit favorite childhood memories.  I hated hiking when I was little, but we did fight over being the leader.  And I did spend a lot of time pretending to be either Pocahontas or an Indian captive.  As an adult, I appreciate the outdoors, the quiet time, and the sheer exercise.  Give me a chance to move any day.  I’ll take it!  Also, it’s an incredible testament to God’s power on top of a mountain or beside a sea. I needed His reassurances that weekend in particular, and it was a perfect place to get away to.  Breaking down my muscles allowed room for them to grow back stronger–physically and mentally. Reading the scriptures up there is perfect communion with God and open channels.

Last but not least, I told mockingbirdmy students that I loved To Kill a Mockingbird so much that I had to bring it with me.  All 18 miles! Love me some Scout and Jem up on a mountaintop! They looked at me like I’m crazy on Monday morning. If they only knew that I usually carry at least three books with me on any trip, anywhere, not including my kindle and phone.  That’s okay.  I am the crazy teacher lady. (One student thought I spoke the Elvish language from Lord of the Rings, which I don’t, and I don’t know why he thought I did.)

 

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