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Nature Photography

Mount LeConte

The tallest mountain located entirely within the state of Tennessee – near Gatlinburg – Mount LeConte stands an impressive 6593-feet above sea level and provides hikers with stunning panoramic scenery of the Smoky Mountains.

Clingmans Dome (at 6664-feet, the tallest peak in the Smoky Mountains National Park) and Mount Guyot (6621-feet) each have higher elevations, though both occupy boundaries within Tennessee and North Carolina.

There are five trails to the summit of Mount LeConte. This hike – my second – began at the Alum Cave Trailhead, located approx. 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, along Newfound Gap Road. During the initial 1.5 miles, the trail parallels two creeks – Alum Cave Creek & Styx Branch – providing visitors with pleasant background sounds of running water.

Shout Out: I enjoyed conversation at Myrtle Point with two visitors from Maryland (Kathy) & Virginia (Gayle), and hiking back down the mountain with a nice woman – Shawnie – from Dayton, TN. Nice to meet you!

One can expect to meet many people along the trail – it’s a popular place to hike, with most folks opting to walk 1/2 the distance, stopping at Alum Cave Bluffs (an area originally mined for deposits of magnesium sulfate & alum in 1838, by the Epsom Salts Manufacturing Company).

Other landmarks include Arch Rock (a long stairway which winds through the mountainside), Inspiration Point, and the Eye of The Needle. This area is also home to Peregrine Falcons – the fastest bird in the world, with a top recorded speed (during descent) of 242 miles per hour. And, the trail is equipped with several different steel cables, affixed to the mountainside for safety.

The Top

Hikers are greeted at the top of the mountain with a series of buildings – LeConte Lodge, cabins, gift shop, fresh water pump & an outhouse.

LeConte Lodge operates via a seasonal airlift of supplies by helicopter in March, restocking throughout the season using alternating teams of pack llamas for several days each week. Cabin availability is limited and reservations should be made one year in advance.

Cliff Tops

Located a short 0.2 miles away from LeConte Lodge, Cliff Tops is one of two primary overlooks enjoyed by visiting hikers. It’s a great place to relax with a snack and take in the view!

My next destination was the eastern most edge on top of Mount LeConte; also known as Myrtle Point. Here are a few photographs taken en route…

Myrtle Point

This is my favorite of the two overlooks. It has a more expansive, panoramic view, and much flatter rock surfaces for comfortable seating. Mountain views include Mount Kephart, Newfound Gap, Charlies Bunion and Clingmans Dome.

Conclusion

Including visits to/from the Cliff Tops & Myrtle Point overlooks, I tallied over 12 miles on the hike along the Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte. It’s the shortest route, but, being the steepest trail, a strenuous endeavor. My advice is to be well-rested, bring appropriate clothing but travel as lightly as practical, take a break if fatigued, stay hydrated, use trekking poles when possible, and watch your step. Oh, and take pictures!

Photography

Fine quality prints are available through my galleries at Fine Art America & Pixels. Select between framed, canvas, art, poster, metal, acrylic, wood and/or tapestry. Customization options, also.

Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Nature Photography

Black And White Cascades

If you’ve been considering adding something to a wall in your home or office, then consider adding something in black and white – such as these cascades from above Soco Falls (North Carolina). Visit my gallery at Fine Art America to see more.

Categories
Nature Photography

Scenic Sunrise

Start your day today and everyday with a print in your home featuring this picturesque sunrise over the Smoky Mountains. I shot this photograph from a scenic overlook along the Foothills Parkway, near Wears Valley, Tennessee. Many print types are available to enjoy!

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Nature Photography

Black And White Mountains

Sunlight creeping over peaks of the Smoky Mountains to brighten the valleys below. This black and white shot is available on prints and more. Thanks for stopping by!

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Nature Photography

Another Foothills Sunrise

From the Foothills Parkway, located near Townsend, Tennessee, this photograph highlights a sunrise in the Smoky Mountains. Prints available.

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Nature Photography

Foothills Sunrise

This photograph was taken from a scenic overlook along Foothills Parkway, near Townsend, Tennessee, featuring a sunrise over the Smoky Mountains. Prints available.

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Nature Photography

Monotone Black Mountain

This black and white photograph was taken from Black Mountain, on the Cumberland Plateau near Crab Orchard, Tennessee, facing east toward the Smoky Mountains. Prints available.

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Nature Photography

Black And White Scenic View

This black and white photograph was taken at a scenic overlook at the Savage Gulf Natural Area, located in the South Cumberland State Park of Tennessee. Prints available.

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Nature Photography

Looking Glass Rock

In the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, the Pisgah National Forest is home to Looking Glass Rock – known in geological terms as a Pluton Monolith.

Taken from different scenic overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway, prints of these photographs are available in my gallery.

Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Nature Photography

Top of The Mountain

Located near Crab Orchard, Tennessee, Black Mountain connects with the Cumberland Trail and provides hikers with both scenic overlooks, as well as a geologic wonderland of massive boulders and cliffs. This shot was taken facing east, with the Smoky Mountains visible in the distance, as well as the nuclear power plant in Oak Ridge (shown on right). Prints available. Thanks for stopping by!

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Nature Photography

Scenic Overlook

This summertime photograph features a scenic overlook at the Savage Gulf State Natural Area in Tennessee. Prints available.

Categories
Nature Photography

Laurel-Snow Trail To Buzzard Point

Earlier Post: Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls

This was my second visit to the park, and I’ll definitely be returning – there’s simply so much to see! My intent was to visit Snow Falls, a ten mile hike. However, soon after I began – at the first wooden bridge with a small creek – I opted to ascend the boulder-strewn mountainside, where to my delight I encountered a series of scenic waterfalls, as well as an old mine opening towards the top. This was difficult terrain but well worth the effort, though it added 2 hours to my hike…

Beyond an aluminum bridge at the 1.5 mile split, I headed left in accordance with the Snow Falls marker. Following another turnoff (stay right, as left leads to a campsite), I came upon a second creek crossing – an older metal bridge consisting of 3 fifty-foot connecting sections. Then, further along the trail, there’s an area which was poorly marked: rather than continue on the white blaze, hikers should make a short detour, following instead the orange ribbons posted on trees. This sidestep reconnects with the trail, which is clearly marked thereafter.

Missing this turn may cause hikers to spend the next twenty minutes scrambling up a steep mountain covered with slippery leaves. D’oh!

Thankfully, I found the trail again and continued on towards Buzzard Point

While enjoying a great view to the east from Buzzard Point, I spotted several of these ugly birds effortlessly floating on thermal updrafts – 2 of which dive bombed me. Heads up!

After a brief rest to enjoy a peanut butter sandwich, I backtracked along the ridge on an old logging road which, at its terminus (a cable delineating property lines), has an unmarked trail into the forest at left. Thereafter, coming upon a fork in the path, I stayed left towards Morgan Creek (right leads to another campsite). To get to Snow Falls, one must cross the creek in order to rejoin the trail. However, the water was high, swift and cold…I waded in halfway to my knees, though could see I’d need to commit to crossing a depth over-knee deep (along a slippery, mostly flat rock surface under water), and bailed. Another time!


In summary, this was a very enjoyable hike of approximately 12 miles, though a rather long day. On the trail beginning at 9:45 a.m., I returned to my vehicle at 6:00 p.m., exhausted. Along the way, I shot a few more photographs of Richland Creek

Prints

Checkout my gallery at Pixels for a variety of fine prints. Perfect for your home or office, select between framed, canvas, art, metal, wood & acrylic. Other items are available, also.

Thanks for stopping by!