My family and I wanted to hike Mt LeConte the day after Thanksgiving. With my mother just recently recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and my dad scheduled for knee replacement, we decided to go for a shorter hike

 
 
 
Above is a picture of me with my 3 main men: Daddy, Jay, and Papaw.  (Listed in order from left to right on the picture, not importance.)  Yes, 2 of them have a mouth full of tobacco – but at least they all came out, right?
 
 
And then there was the rest of the crew.  My mom is the one in the goofy hat on the left. She and Daddy struggled quite a bit on this “easy” hike.  It was less than 4 miles round trip.  Papaw, who turned 80 in September, had no trouble keeping up with the young folk!
 

Half way up, the trail veered off to the right towards an old homestead and a barn.  The kiddo & his parents, as well as my parents stayed behind while Papaw, Jay, Sharon (one of my mom’s best friends), and I went exploring.  Once we were done we doubled backed, met up with the crew, and headed toward the falls.

 
 
 
At the waterfall, we stopped for some snacks (because isn’t that what hiking is all about) before heading back down.  Jay, Sharon, and I ventured up the falls for some better shots.
 
 
 
 
 
On the way down, Jay and I really struggled with hiking slow enough to stay with the crew.  When we got to the more even ground, 1 mile to go section Jay piggy backed me the rest of the way.  I carried the heavy backpack and he carried me.
 
Being carried by someone who wants your arms and legs positioned just-so isn’t easy!  (Although carrying around 135 squirming pounds probably isn’t either.)  We had to stop and reposition several times, and we still ended up waiting for them at the end. 

Apparently going down hill is harder on bad knees than going up, so my mom needed several breaks.  I forgot I had the water, so they couldn’t even snack when they stopped.  Oops!!

 
All-in-all, it was a fun hike.  I’m hoping come next spring the parents will be healthy enough for us to take on the 10 mile trek to Mt. LeConte!

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