On July 23, 2004, after driving over 7 hours we finally arrived at the Alum Cave Trailhead. After packing a small daypack, my hiking partner set off at 7:00 am to make our ascent towards the summit of Mt LeConte.
After walking along a flowing creek for some time, we finally arrived at the Alum Cave. Being so early in the morning, the dew covered the steps that ascended through the cave towards the top. We both had to use the cable that was affixed to the left of the steps. After taking several pictures, we continued on our journey. After arriving at the Alum Bluffs, we stopped and rested for a brief moment. As with most trails that I have hiked, the people we met were very courteous and were eager to share their stories. As were continued upward towards the summit, we passed several people who were on their way down from staying the night at the LeConte Lodge.
Soon after the Bluffs, the trail opened a little and we could see the surrounding mountains. Even though the clouds had descended to a point were it was hard to see more than 1/4 of a mile away, it still made for an enjoyable and breathtaking view. At 10:00 we stopped for a quick snack. Immediately hungry squirrels that had obviously been fed before surrounded us. One was so brave that he climbed onto my shoe and looked at me. Needless to say, we did not feed them.
Finally after walking up several steep inclines (with the assistance of cables) we made it to the LeConte Lodge. There were walked around and toured the site. After speaking with several caretakers, we finished our hike and made it to the summit. After taking some pictures and congratulating each other, we walked back down towards the Cliff Tops and ate lunch. Due to the terrible tick problem (they were jumping all over us) we had to keep moving while we ate.
We finally reached our vehicle at 2:30 pm. In my opinion, it was a moderate hike, but very enjoyable.