Friday, January 20, 2017

MLK Smoky Mountain Weekend 2017

Garnett planned a great weekend for the 12 of us. Staying in a huge log home in Pigeon Forge, hiking every day, sharing meals and cooking duties, relaxing and hanging out. I got there in time for dinner Thursday evening, added my cough medicine to a variety of bottles on a side table and filled up on black bean chili and chicken chili, served by Judi and Nora, yummy! Amy took me on a tour of the house, 9 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, some with Jacuzzis, two living rooms, various decks, hot tub area, and huge upper parking area. Roscoe’s Retreat can sleep 18 (more if you want to camp on the decks).
Friday after a great breakfast we carpooled to Elkmont and hiked Curry Mt/Meigs Mt trails, got back to the cabin for Judi’s treats for hungry hikers. Another wonderful dinner by Amy and Linda, and the hot tub for relaxing tired muscles and an evening walk to top it off.
Saturday, after another yummy breakfast, we took advantage of the weather outlook for no rain and hiked Alum Cave.  Impressive trail work, new footbridge, cables in the rocky areas, steps built, two years of restoration work well done! We had a candle lighting and prayers for remembering Betty’s son Chris while at Mt LeConte, she said he loved this trail journey. Such a lovely way to honor his memory.
Nancy and I grilled chicken and asparagus on the charcoal grills outside. Haven’t used charcoal in a long while. We had to use a flashlight and headlamps to finish up, and her yummy roasted veggies, salad and apple pie filled us up. And another evening walk kept me from falling asleep too early.
Sunday we filled up on another yummy breakfast then we drove up Newfound Gap to Kanati Fork trail… well actually we passed the trail and parked at Kephart Prong and walked back up the road. Have to get those extra miles in! It was a little wet so we had a variety of colors in all the raingear. Uphill, and a mudslide about a mile in, two hikers got down and dirty. Lunch at the junction then back down. Then to Oconoluftee Visitor Center where we met up with Amy, Nora and Judi who had hiked the Tow String Trail and they reported it was not the mud bath they expected, but in good condition. We hiked the River Trail to the park boundary, a lovely hike along the river. Back to the cabin for more delicious munchies from Judi’s magic supply. Dinner by Garnett, cornbread, brisket so very tender, cornbread, salad, and did I mention cornbread??? Delicious.
Monday morning pack up and breakfast bagels by Gloria Dale and all the lovely leftovers and fruit. Hugs and goodbye’s to Amy, Nora, Gloria Dale, Cathy, Marietta, Dianna, Betty, and Judi who were all heading home, Nancy, Linda, Garnett and I headed to Cosby to hike Maddron Bald/Gabe’s Mountain so Linda could finish Gabes for her map. We had a pretty hike to campsite #34 which is really pretty and has lots of room. Had lunch and music here, then hiked back with Garnett practicing her balancing act along the trail. Impressive. Back at the trailhead we parted ways, and I drove to Cherokee Orchard Road to see if it was open. It was even though the fires had burned all thru this area, there were full parking lots for Rainbow Falls and at the gate for Grotto Falls. Good to know for future map marking.

Happy to have had this MLK weekend with all these fabulous ladies. This was their 10 anniversary for MLK hiking weekends. Congratulations!



  1. Nice writing, Lora. I had such a great time hiking with you and everyone else. Hope we can check off some more trails very soon.

  2. Thank you for this nice write-up of our experience, Lora, and best wishes for more "miles on your map" this year.

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  4. Just read this. Great account. thanks. Love reading about yours and Craig's other adventures too.