Leconte 1975

The year was 1975, thereabouts.  America was preparing for our bicentennial celebration.  I was nine years old.  That little guy stage left of me is my punk brother David, the anti-Quillen.  To his left is Jonathan Prince and the guy on the end was my best friend and Jonathan's brother, Danny Prince.  It was our first time up the big hill and we were privileged to be escorted by Mr. Pete Prince, a noted Smokies Historian of the day.  Pete was a newspaper editor and well known for his documentaion of Smokies Cemetaries and took it upon himself to haul this budding Outlaw Hiker and crew up to the summit.  My memories from that hike are limited but vivid.  There was the unmistakable scent of heath and laurel filtered through the dripping springs beyond the falcon nest.  I was hooked for life.  To this day, I have some memory of the hike, primarily just the sensation of cresting the hill as you hit the flats about a tenth of a mile before the Rainbow Falls intersection and crusing in the bright sunshine to the lodge.  Every time I hit that spot it is reminiscent of that initial trip. I really appreciate Mr. Prince taking the time to do this.  I'm guessing he never imagined the ultimate effect it would have upon this particular SouthernHighlander but it just goes to show that when you take Hoods to the Woods they might end up with the GOODS!

Pete passed away a few years ago but I will forever be thankful for what he did.  It was another year or two before I could con someone else into taking me back up there but that is a story for another day.  Rest assured my skills for finagling trips to the mountains were honed at an early age in the rolling hills of Morristown.

I'm not really sure where this is on the trail.  We extracted these pictures from slides with a device specifically designed for that purpose.  My brother Todd played with them while in from California and found these gems.  He would have been but a couple of years old at the time of this trip.  David, on the left, had to be seven or eight and Jonathan was even younger.

http://copland.udel.edu/~jep/FORT_HARRY.pdf     This is a link that mentions some of Mr. Prince's work on the Smokies.

(Yes, this might be what you would consider a slow Hike week on the SouthernHighlanders.)