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LeConte Trip Instructions 2017

posted Nov 15, 2017, 4:32 AM by Scott Lovell
Scouts and Families:

We are meeting at the Publix on Woodlawn at 7:30 PM Thursday night to buy the food for the LeConte hiking trip. Every scout going on the trip should come help us shop! If everyone comes, we should be done in an hour.
Families should plan to come to the "studio" condo units to join the troop for breakfast Saturday and Sunday, and to pack your lunch on Saturday morning. Anticipated menu includes:
Friday Dinner - Driver's choice on the way up Friday night (scouts, bring money for fast food)
Saturday Breakfast - Microwaveable sausage biscuits, cold cereal, milk, fruit juice
Saturday Lunch - Brown Bag Lunches - Sandwiches, chips, fruit  (packed by an "assembly line" on Saturday right after breakfast)
Saturday Dinner - After the hike we typically return to the condos to shower and change clothes, then head back down to Gatlinburg for pizza at the "Cosmic Arcade," followed by a short walk to the "Cheesy knife shop"
Sunday Breakfast - Bagels, cream cheese, milk, fruit juice, any other leftover food
Sunday Lunch - Driver's choice on the way home Sunday (scouts, bring money for fast food)

Friday Travel/Navigation
We have a number of families joining us this year, which is great.  Families will be driving themselves to our lodging at the "Summit of Gatlinburg" Condominiums in Gatlinburg, TN, independently and don't need to coordinate your travel with each other or with the leaders who are driving the unaccompanied scouts.  DO let us know if your family is not going, but don't worry about letting us know if you will be early or late arriving on Friday night. Plan on it taking about 5 hours to drive from your home to the condos in Gatlinburg, allowing for a bit of traffic and a brief stop or two.  A full sit-down meal, or worse-than-usual traffic or weather can extend that time.

Your destination (for use with your car or phone navigation system) is:
The Summit of Gatlinburg

Upon arrival at "The Summit" families will need to find the condo complex office.  The condos are arranged in a "ring" around a central area.  The office is the only building in the center of the complex.  On the glass door of the office you should find taped an envelope with your family name.  In that envelope you will find the key to your assigned unit.  Find your building and condo unit and QUIETLY settle in for the night.  Do not concern yourself with checking in with the rest of the Troop on Friday night.  You will meet up with the rest of the troop early the next morning for breakfast and to pack our lunches for the dayhike, as detailed below in the "Saturday Agenda" section.

You will find there are several different routes to Gatlinburg from East Cobb, with approximately the same estimated travel time.  Each driver can make his own choice of route depending on personal preference and current conditions.  Bear in mind that unless you leave quite early on Friday, it will be dark the entire way, rendering the more "scenic" routes far less so. The "Highway" route, via !-75 through Chattanooga and Knoxville, is the longest in miles, but allows high-speed travel (if traffic is OK).  The "central mountain" route travels north up I-575 until it ends and then on through smaller roads through Blue Ridge, GA, and on up into Tennessee along Routes 76 and 74 to Cherokee and then through the park to Gatlinburg.  The "eastern mountain" route travels up I-85, then I-985, and then route 23 north through the Smoky Mountains to Cherokee and then through the park to Gatlinburg.  In the past, I have saved the mountain "scenic route" options for the drive home on Sunday and taken the "Highway" route up on Friday night, but, again, each driver can make their own decision.  Drive carefully and do your best to arrive safely, regardless of the route you choose.

For the following three carloads of people, who are NOT driving as families or independent leaders to Gatlinburg, departure for the trip is 6:30 PM Friday from the parking lot of Holy Family Catholic Church. We want to have all the cars loaded and be ready to roll by 6:30, so don't be late!

Car Assignments
Car 1Car 2Car 3
DriverHilary ThorntonClint MastersFriday - Shelly Bitter/ Sunday- Tim Miller
Sam TCalvin MAlex B
Noah TJake MDraven S
Sam EDrew MJames M
Joseph M  

Saturday Agenda:
6AM - Meet in the studio units of the troop (Typically in Building 4) for breakfast and to pack lunches
7AM - Meet in the Summit Parking lot with daypacks to drive to trailhead

WEATHER NOTE: Due to nasty weather forecasted for Saturday, troop leadership is seriously considering re-routing the troop's dayhike to a different trail.  Instead of a steep climb to the top of Mount LeConte hrough driving rain, turning to ice and then snow, we propose to hike to a nice waterfall (Ramsey Cascades) instead, at a lower elevation that should be more sheltered from the wind and ice.  
Here is a link to the proposed alternate hike, which is an 8-mile roundtrip.  Ken Williams, a past T433 Scoutmaster and a veteran of many of these trips, recommends this alternate route.  He has done it in the past with his family.

7:30AM - Arrive trailhead, park.  Trail briefing and commence hike.
~11:30AM - Lunch Stop at turnaround point
~4:30PM - Return to cars at trailhead.  Once all have returned, drive back to condos. Shower and change for dinner.
~6:00PM - Depart Condos for dinner in town at the Pizza Arcade, followed by the cheesy knife shop (China Bazaar).  Bring permission form if you are not accompanied by your parent.
~9:00PM - Return to Condos for the evening.  TV, cards, etc. until bedtime.

Sunday Return
Around 8AMSunday Breakfast for scouts and families will be served in the studio condos where the troop scouts have spent the night, similar to the day before, but not as early.  After breakfast we will clean our units and load out our gear for the trip home.

Return travel from Gatlinburg on Sunday will again be independent travel for families, on their own schedules, with three cars of scouts driven back by leaders.  For planning purposes, waiting parents should plan that the three "troop" cars will return to the church by mid-afternoon on Sunday.  Each scout passenger will call his parent(s) with a updated estimated arrival time once we are on the road.

Packing for the trip is easy. Since it's condo camping, you just need an overnight bag and a day pack. You should bring the following items:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Clothes to sleep in
  • Day pack (bookbag will work)
  • Clothes for the hike (no cotton!)
  • Jacket/ Rain gear (it will be cold, and there is some rain in the forecast!)
  • Gloves
  • Good hiking boots
  • Extra socks for the hike
  • Flashlight (it gets dark earlier now)
  • Clothes for Gatlinburg and drive home
  • Toiletries
  • Money for cheesy knife shop and food-stops on the way up and the way home

You will be carrying your lunch in your day pack, and it will fill up with clothes you take off as you get heated up during the hike. Other items you might like: camera, hiking poles, and playing cards to play at the top.

IMPORTANT: You must have a permission form signed by your parents to buy a knife at the cheesy-knife-shop!

Permission form can be found attached below (KnifePermissionForm.pdf)

Print this form and get your parent or guardian to sign it and bring it with you!

Scott Lovell,
Nov 15, 2017, 4:33 AM