We did it! We totally did it! Ours girls hiked 11 miles today on Alum Cave trail to Leconte Lodge. 5.5 up in 4:25 hours and 5.5 down in 3:30 hours. We just figured it out and we left our cabin 12 hours ago. The girls did great. The two words we kept hearing about Anabel, the three year old, were “impressive” and “trooper”. We really were not so sure that we would make it to the top. But once we got to Arch Rock, only about 1.4 miles into it, we all had a little attitude adjustment and saw hope of making it to the top. We hiked the same trail two years ago and were thrilled to make it that far. This time much went faster and the girls wanted to keep going. We stopped for a little snack before the bluffs and then a couple of times for some extra “jet fuel” or trail mix, well ok m&ms for the girls and nuts and raisins for mommy or the boomers. We waited to tell the girls about hot chocolate, cookies and t-shirts available at the lodge until they were really tired. The motivation worked and we made it to the top. The girls treasured the hot chocolate and the cookie bars were amazing! Thanks Allyson! We then headed to the office to get our special t-shirts. Hopefully John made it to 120 shirts and received his two days off! There is a great website by done by the staff at http://www.highonleconte.com.
Anabel hiked more than 3/4 of the trip up and maybe half way down. We found that asking her questions and mostly having her tell stories or sing songs distracted her from the length and difficulty of the trail. She even slept for about 30 min on Monotony Ridge. She wanted to walk more after arch rock but it started getting dark. We finished by flashlights on our iPhones. Hooray for the flashlight app. It was a great adventure! So thankful for making it to the top with my sweet family.

The standard photo in front of the kitchen to prove we made it.
Enjoying our lunch and hot chocolate in the dining room.
Anabel and I on the office porch.
Views along the way. The weather was clear and perfect! Praise the Lord.
The colors were perfect!
A picture of horse gate from Gracie’s pulpit
Alum Cave Bluffs
Courtney still smiling
Natalie still smiling
Anabel telling stories and singing songs
Felt good to be back at Leconte. Thank you God for the gift of this place, your presence here and time to enjoy it.