• National Parks

    That Time I Climbed a Mountain: Mount LeConte via the Alum Cave Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains

    “Ok, look,” I said to the cat. She was mostly asleep in a shoe box next to me, the opposite of riveted by our conversation. I’d been sitting in front of my computer for an hour with a map of Great Smoky Mountains National Park spread between us as she snoozed and offered an occasional tail swish. I was researching trails, trying to figure out which ones I wanted to hike, and, emboldened by the cat’s lack of interest, I felt ready to make a decision. “I think I’m going to hike up a mountain,” I told her. “I’m going to hike to the top of Mount LeConte.”

  • Adventures,  Life,  National Parks,  North Carolina,  Tennessee,  U.S.A.

    What I Did & Spent on a Solo Weekend in Asheville & the Great Smoky Mountains

    I really, really needed this trip. I needed to get out of town, to put on my pack and walk into the woods. I needed to spend a few hours in the car, music up and windows down. I needed to be alone in the woods, to take myself to dinner, to drink new beers, to catch up with one of my oldest friends. I just needed to go. Asheville, North Carolina, is a place I keep going back to. The first time I went, I was 19. It was my first-ever road trip. I took my boyfriend, headed south on I-81 and felt like a grown up doing grown…