A Long Walk to Dinner – PressurePro Customer Profile

October 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

After last week’s Customer Profile, Joe Durrance, a longtime user of PressurePro, took the time to write and send me a breathtaking profile from a recent trip of his. As PressurePro wants these Profiles to be customer testimonials not only of your travels with PressurePro, but of the experiences of your travels, I wanted to take time to post his story here.

Thank you for sharing Joe, and safe travels!

Try a 6.6 mile walk to dinner, uphill?   But a ‘log rolling’ dinner it was!    It had to be because all the guests had to climb up to the top of Mt. Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains to get there, the only access being by foot.  We chose one of the longer, steeper wilderness trails ascending over 3800 feet in the 6.6 mile climb.  The Rainbow Falls Trail offers its travelers spectacular vistas around every switchback.  Overlooking the mountains with the Smoky’s legendary blue mist in the air,  we could even identify the Pigeon Forge’s famous shopping strip in the distance.

Mt. Le Conte Lodge is an old rustic split log cabin located at one of the Smoky Mountains highest peaks.   Open to the public nine months of the year, you may need paid reservations a year in advance.  There are no roads or motor vehicles, only foot paths lead you to this hidden lodge at 6593 feet elevation.  Arriving at the lodge is akin to finding an oasis in the middle of the desert, a truly welcome sight  for weary hikers even though  they are in the heart of the unspoiled backwoods.

Cabin (Custom)

The lodge provides its guests a cabin with bunk style beds, potable water from an outdoor hydrant, flushable toilets as well as two meals.  Only the bare necessities are provided at this altitude.  A bucket and water basin allow for a well earned sponge bath and we were advised that the dinner bell would be rung only once so be listening.  Early the next morning, another full and hearty meal is served to furnish the required calories for our long descent back to civilization.  The lodge dining room is supplied three times a week by llama ‘mule’ train.  Making the ascent each Monday, Wednesday and Friday they bring in all perishables as well as clean linen for each new guest.  Presently, llamas are being used instead of horses because of the shape of their hoofs and because of the way a llama sets his foot straight down on the trail.  Llamas do little damage to the trail as he carries his precious cargo.  As a matter of fact, I am told the llamas do less harm to the fragile foot trails with their padded feet than hikers do with their hiking boots.

If hikers still have any steps left in their weary feet after the ascent to Mt. Le Conte Lodge, they must not miss the spectacular 320 degree panorama view of the earth from Myrtle Point.  One of the greatest highlights of this trip was witnessing the magnificent sunset from this altitude.  Only a 10 minute hike from the semi- comforts of our cabin takes us to the Cliff Tops for a glorious sunset over the Great Smoky Mountains.   The clean air at this elevation causes the colors to be truly thrilling.  I love the amazing way the leaves filters the color of the sunlight as it makes its way thru the overhead canopy to light the forest floor in infinitely different hues.  The leaves falling so fast it reminded one of snowfall as it covers the trail under our boots sometimes making it difficult to find our path.

I had to believe I was in good physical shape because of my diligent daily exercising, but these steep trails found several weaknesses in my fitness plan.  The ascent took us over 6 hours, which includes occasional stops to enjoy mid October’s changing fall colors.   Looking down on the expansive forest from this height, afforded us a view you seldom attain.  The full array of nature’s fall colors is unmistakable from the top view looking down on the foliage.  Two days after our decent down the 7.1 mile Bullhead Trail I am still sore from muscles I forgot I had.

Mountain View (Custom)

An unanticipated benefit of this hike was the great way the trials of this journey permitted me to bond with my family.  My two sons, ages 30 and 36 and my daughter age 34 and I, age 65, walked to the top of the mountain and down again the following day.  Together, the four of us challenged the might of the mountain and succeeded.  I think we know each other a lot better after this excursion and feel a closed connection than any of us have felt since they have grown up.

As difficult as I may have made this seem, I must still enjoy myself because before leaving the spectacular beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, I have already made new reservations for the following year.

Four at Dining Hall (Custom)

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