A couple of weeks ago on Memorial day weekend, I travelled to Gatlinburg Tennessee to run some trails with a few facebook friends. The crazy idea involved running/hiking Mount Le Conte to view the sunrise above 6500 feet and then continuing our run down the mountain via some other trails, completing about 17-18 miles for the day.
In order to catch the six A.M. sunrise, me and another guy started our run/hike at 2:30 A.M. on the Allum Cave trail. The Allum Cave Trail climbed from 3000 feet at the base of the mountain up to the summit of the mountain roughly 6593 feet just over five miles. The trail involved mostly knee high boulder steps and steep technical climbing on narrow trails, often involving holding a guide wire screwed into the rock on one side and steep nothingness on the other side. In the dark the chasm below looked like it stretched on forever. Just a tad after 5 A.M. we passed the peak of Mount Le Conte and made our way to Myrtle Point where we settled for the sunrise. Up at 6500 feet the air was thin and cold, luckily I carried a fleece with me but forgot a warm hat and gloves.
After watching the sunrise we ran down the mountain on a series of connected trails. Going from 6500 feet of elevation to below 3000 feet gave me the feeling that we would never come down from the sky.
After we finished our 17 mile run we drove around and realized that Gatlinburg was unnavigable because of the throngs of tourists. We really were not interrested in shopping, just wanted to look around a bit. We decided the next morning we would run through downtown Gatlinburg early in the morning before the shops opened and the tourists clogged the streets and side walks. I guess you could call it site seeing runner style.
We finished the weekend off with Pancakes/Flapjacks.
Til next time.