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Tour times Four


North Carolinian Scott Anderson hiked 60 miles on September 9 to complete the Tour de Le Conte for the second time this year and the fourth time overall, tying the record held by LeConte Lodge manager John Northrup.

Scott likes to do the tour unsupported--without car shuttles--so his route included 13 miles via the Graveyard Ridge Trail as well as the six trails on Mount Le Conte. Starting at Cherokee Orchard at 2:30 a.m., he climbed Rainbow Falls and then descended Brushy Mountain. In the past, he has biked from Greenbrier through Gatlinburg to return to Cherokee Orchard, but this time he decided to return via Graveyard Ridge. Then he had to bypass Baskins Creek Trail (closed because of bear activity) and walked the road back to the orchard.

From there he climbed Bullhead, descended Boulevard, biked down Highway 441, climbed Alum, and descended Trillium Gap back to finish in the orchard at 12:43 a.m. Near Alum Cave, his GPS briefly failed him, accounting for the break in the map aloe.

The tour involves hiking all six Le Conte trails in 24 hours, and typically involves at least 45 miles, including stretches that have to be duplicated.

Anderson previously completed the tour in 2021, 2022, and earlier this year in May.

Northrup's tours were in 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

His mileage is the second longest day reported by Le Conte hikers. Zach Andrews covers 78.2 miles in 24 hours in October 2020 when he hiked all six trails up and down.,

Longest Day of the Year

There have been several other Tours completed this year, including the second tour by Nicole Howe. She hiked with Johnny Osborne, Jennifer Brigati, and Michele Huffine Owen, on June 21, maximizing daylight on the longest day of the year, although they had to deal with rain.

They started at 4 a.m. up Bullhead, down Boulevard, up Alum, down Trillium, up Rainbow, and down Brushy Mountain. Osborne and Brigati finished in 19:30; Howe and Owen in 23 hours.

Hottest Day of the Year

Donna Gregory completed the Tour on July 13, which she described as the hottest day of the year.

Starting at 3:20 a.m. at Cherokee Orchard, she went up Bullhead, down Trillium, up Rainbow, down Alum, up Boulevard, shuttled to Newfound Gap, and went up Boulevard and down Brushy Mountain, finishing at 10:10 p.m. with a time of 18 hours and 50 minutes for 46 miles.

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