Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hike to Alum Cave Bluff

On November 25, we hiked up to Alum Cave Bluff in the Smokies. It isn't really a cave, it is actually a large rock overhang that towers over the trail. Alum, saltpeter, and other minerals were mined here before and during the Civil War. You can smell the sulfur in the air.
This was as close as we tried to get today. In the bottom center of this photo is the trail, which was like a sheet of glass. Other folks were slowing making their way through, going up to or down from LeConte Lodge.
They say icicles hanging from the Bluff can get as large as a human being!

Check out these icicles, what they lack in size they make up for in quantity - they were everywhere. The section of trail just before the Bluff was very slick and pretty difficult to traverse. Too bad I couldn't get a photo of the cable handrail bolted to the rock face, it was completely coated with inches of ice and was hard to hang onto.

The trail near Inspiration Point. Amazing views here, well worth the hike, and unquestionably inspirational.

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