Smoky Mountains History: Winter Hiking

Smoky Mountains History: Winter Hiking
Dutch Roth at Rainbow Falls © University of Tennessee Libraries
Dutch Roth at Rainbow Falls © University of Tennessee Libraries

From the journal of Dutch Roth, Tales From the Woods, describing the history of winter hiking in the Smoky Mountains:

We hiked in all kinds of weather and I never forgot my camera, despite the cold or rain. You never know when you might miss a good shot. We hiked around rocks, on rocks, hopped rocks, went up creekbeds, down road in brush and on trails.

On New Years Day, 1928, a group of us hiked to the top of Mt. LeConte in snow and ice. There were no modern cabins there then. We had to stay in an old one-room cabin with wooden bunks. We sat up all night keeping logs on the fire. The temperature was 20 degrees below zero. In fact it was so cold during the night that we had put the water bucket by the fireplace and the next morning the dipper was frozen solid in the bucket. I decided to go out and get a few good snow shots. When I took off my glove to take the picture, my finger froze. One of the men on the trip got a frozen ear. I had to have my finger x-rayed when I got home. Everything up there was covered with five or more inchesof snow.

On January 29,1928, we had a hike to LeConte and Rocky Spur in six inches of snow, but this wasn’t half so bad as our trip to Mt. LeConte on March 3-4,1928. On this trip we hiked up LeConte and Rocky Spur and spent the night on top in an old cabin. It snowed, sleeted and rained. I don’t know what the weather man had against us on this trip.

Dutch Roth at Little Indian Gap shelter  © University of Tennessee Libraries
Dutch Roth at Little Indian Gap shelter © University of Tennessee Libraries

Used with permision of the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection, University of Tennessee Libraries.

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