Smoky Mountains Trip - May of 2010

For my spring trip in 2010, I wanted to visit the Great Smoky Mountains again. I had been looking forward to this vacation for a long time. Three years ago I went to many of the same places, but I was denied two of the high points. It was raining when I tried to hike Mt. Rogers in Virginia and they were doing construction in at the North Carolina High Point that prevented me from reaching the old summit tower there. When I hiked Mt. LeConte that year, it included a trip to the lodge on the top of the Mount Leconte where you can make reservations far in advance to spend the night. This time I would be back with a reservation so I could stay for the night on top of that beautiful mountain.

As is typical of my vacations, I drive with all my gear to the destination. I tend to push hard getting to my destinations and then getting home. After more than eight hours of driving in a day most people usually get pretty grumpy. But wI love the open road.

The Itinerary

Sat, May 8th
  1. Start in Rocky Hill, CT.
  2. Stay the night at Big Meadows Campground.
Sun, May 9th
  1. Drive to Grayson Highlands and hike Mt. Rogers. Stay the night at Grayson Highlands Campground.
Mon, May 10th
  1. Drive to Cosby, TN and hike Mt. Guyot, starting in the Cosby Campground parking lot.
  2. Spend the night in Newport, TN.
Tues, May 11th
  1. Hike up Mt. LeConte outside of Gatlinburg, TN and spend the night on top of the mountain.
Wed, May 12th
  1. Hike off Mt. LeConte and drive to Georgia's high point, Brasstown Bald, outside of Blairsville, GA.
  2. Drive to Alabama's high point, Cheaha Mountain, outside of Anniston, AL. Find a hotel somewhere between Anniston and Florida.
Thurs, May 13th
  1. Drive to Lakewood Park, Florida's high point, outside of Florala, AL. Drive to Ft. Walton Beach, FL so we can put our toes in the ocean.
  2. Drive to Orlando and stay in a hotel.
Fri, May 14th
  1. Drive to Cocoa Beach, FL to watch the shuttle launch.
  2. Drive back to Orlando for dinner with our friends Debbie and Howard.
  3. Drive home to Rocky Hill, CT.

The Trip

We basically followed our itinerary and were able to go to each of the destinations. This is unusual for us. We usually make very optimistic plans and have to adjust throughout the trip to make the most important places. We must be getting better at our planning! Below are the details for each of the days.


Todd thought we could get out the door around 8:00 AM. I know him better than that and thought 11:00 AM would be more realistic. I didn't tell him that ahead of time and just let him work through his list of things to do at his own pace. Eventually everything was done and we pulled out of the driveway. I looked down at the clock and it read 11:08.

The trip to Virginia was uneventful. We stopped once in New Jersey for gas. Even without looking at the compass in the car I knew we were heading south when we spotted a billboard in Pennsylvania that read "Where is the Birth Certificate?" referencing an allegation that President Obama was not born in the United States and therefore was not eligible to be president. You just don't see things like that in New England. We reached Front Royal, Virginia at around 6:30 PM. This is where Skyline Drive starts. At a gas station in town I was happy to find beef jerky that fit my dietary restrictions. I also bought some potato chips that were fried in lard. Since I don't eat most oils, potato chips are usually off limits. Todd took to calling them lard chips. I was disappointed that the chips did not taste very good and left a terrible after taste in my mouth.

Skyline Drive, Virginia


Mt. Rogers, Virginia


Mt. Guyot, Tennessee


Mt. LeConte, Tennessee


Brasstown Bald, Georgia

Cheaha, Alabama


Lakewood Park, FL

Ft. Walton Beach, FL


Space Shuttle Launch, Titusville, FL


Ebright Azimuth, DE