It was time for our official 2014 trek up Mt. LeConte. Phil’s brother-in-law was our guest this year. We chose to hike Alum Cave Trail. It was reportedly in the best shape and we hoped that it had minimal icy spots.

The Thursday hike up was great. It was a warm sunny day in the low 40’s. Our hike time was 2 hours and 53 minutes. We reached the top around noon long before most of the other guests arrived. There were only 29 guests on Thursday, but over 50 guests were there for Friday night.

It was interesting that on Thursday night, we were served Salmon Casserole for our meal. That has never been on the menu. Our guess was that their food stores were running low as the llamas had not been up the mountain for 2 weeks due to ice on the trails.

It was a frigid 8 degrees when we woke up on Friday.

Friday, Phil and I walked out to Myrtle Point. The trail runs the ridge of the mountain and you can see Newfound Gap and the ridges of the Boulevard Trail. The sun had already burned off the frost up high, but down in the folds, the Rhine Ice covered all of the trees. Clouds were hanging low in the valleys. We got a few good pictures of the views.

Friday night, we ate the usual beef stew, green beans and mashed potatoes. We were glad. It was a lot better than the dry salmon.

The crew looked tired. They had performed several midnight rescues in the past 4 weeks and a few of them were life and death situations. I think they were looking forward to the end of the season in “11 days, 4 hours, and 15 minutes.”

The hike down was a little slow because of all of the ice, but nothing we couldn’t manage if taken slow. We passed 10 or 12 British Airborne servicemen on our way down. Nice guys … they hadn’t even broken a sweat and were skipping right up the steep trail. After the drama of our Halloween trip, it was nice to have a quiet, restful, uneventful trip this time.