Grotto Falls on Ice

GSMA board and staff
GSMA board and staff

So the government didn’t shut down on Thursday night. The House narrowly passes a bill to avoid a shutdown. The adopted measure funds the government until the end of September, 2015 and the national parks are still open.

Friday, I went to a board meeting of the Great Smoky Mountains Association in Gatlinburg. The big discussion centered about the search for a new executive director. Terry Maddox, at the helm since 1990, is retiring at the end of next year. Then Lenny and I attended the park’s annual Christmas party and stayed over.

Lenny and I always take the opportunity to hike on the Tennessee side of the park on the next day. This time, we went up Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls. Trillium Gap Trail is one of five trails that go up to Mt. Le Conte and LeConte Lodge. The llama train, which brings up supplies and brings down trash and dirty laundry, takes this trail, so you know that it’s well maintained.

Icicles on Grotto Falls
Icicles on Grotto Falls

It was a beautiful but cold day. We were hardly the only car in the parking lot but only saw two other groups on the trail: a well-prepared 40sh couple from Southern Indiana and two millenials without a pack. He was carrying a water bottle in his hand and she was carrying her cell phone. Neither looked like they were enjoying the trail.

Grotto Falls
Grotto Falls

The trail around Grotto Falls was icy. We stopped a little short of the falls but I was still able to grab this shot on the left. I was expecting the falls to be frozen but the water was coming down in force. Icicles dangled from rocks on the sides. If we had continued up the trail, we would have reached Mt. Le Conte but it would have been much icier and colder. We turned around and strolled down.

At the bottom, while I was changing out of my boots, I saw this sign at the Rainbow Trail and Trillium Gap parking area. This picture is for Anna Lee Z., of Friends of the Smokies.

 

Now what am I talking about? Look at the sign carefully. Note that Mt. Le Conte has a space. Mt. 20141213Trilliumgaptrailsign1ALe Conte was named after one of the brothers, Joseph or John Le Conte. For this discussion, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is the space between Le Conte on the line about the mountain. “Conte” in French means “tale”, so “the tale”.

But LeConte Lodge doesn’t have a space. Why? Anna Lee called LeConte Lodge and they said that the lodge is spelled without a space. Probably easier to remember on their marketing material.

Yes, accuracy matters. Friends of the Smokies will be leading a trip to Mt. Le Conte and stay at LeConte Lodge next July. Come on up with us.

 

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