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Climbing Mt. LeConte: Untold Stories

May 24, 2013

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This llama had been eating purple mint which caused a tummy-ache. He nows wears a muzzle on the trail until he learns not to eat this.

There are always stories & occurrences that don’t quite fit the context of a story I am telling & extra photos, especially photos of the llamas! For example:

DH bought LeConte Lodge T-shirts for us. While selecting the size & colors of the shirts, he noticed emergency equipment in the corner of the Lodge Office. He shared with Austin, our personal staff attendant, that he was an Internist & was well-versed in use of said equipment if needs be.
Austin told DH that 2 weeks prior to our arrival, a guest had a heart attack almost immediately after starting his descent. Two hiking companions began CPR while another companion ran back to the Lodge for assistance. By the time the Lodge staff members arrived, the man had died. They carried his body back to the Lodge placing it in a cabin then radioed for help. The next day horses were led up, the body placed in a body bag & strapped to the horse who carried it down.
(In the photo on the link, our Austin is just to the left of the guy with the “C” ball cap. He’s a cutie!)

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Three years prior to our arrival, one of our table mates at dinner & breakfast was rescued by the Lodge staff when she had been hiking for 10 hours in an unexpected late-March snowstorm along the Boulevard Trail. Her hiking companion had gone ahead, sought help. The staff donned snowshoes & went to find her. They brought her inside the Dining Hall, put her in front of the fire & started removing her frozen boots. Someone heated up dinner for them – it was 3 hours past dinnertime. The staff heated their cabin to the max & assisted them getting prepared for bed. They saved her life, then fed her, undressed & redressed her & tucked her into bed!


The cabin doors are not airtight & have a small lock. Not animal-proof in the least. The windows are covered with chicken wire. Not bear-proof, but hopefully will slow down the red squirrels who like to set up housekeeping inside when nesting.

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(The eastern American Black Bear is called Ursus americanus americanus.)

Because the local black bears have a very sensitive sense of smell, all foods – ALL FOODS! – must be placed inside galvanized garbage cans in the Common Room at night. We took the warnings seriously & took my snacks: turkey jerky & homemade trail mix packed in ziplock plastic bags, depositing them in the galvanized can without complaint! A mama bear with 2 cubs was seen on the Trillium Trail the week before we climbed.

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Something new to the Lodge: flush toilets! Yep! I don’t know how they did it, I didn’t ask, but instead of the usual mountainous region …uh… non-flush, yucky toilets, we had real bathrooms! Of course, they are only for registered guests – we were given a key! The old-fashioned, standard icky toilets are available to day hikers.

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The caboose!

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