Expedition Mt LeConte: Alum Cave, 2 pics

Last weekend some friends and I hiked up the Alum Cave Trail to the scenic Mt LeConte Lodge in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains.   Compared to extreme mountain expeditions such as Mt Rainer, the Mt LeConte trip may not qualify as an expedition.  However, the 2,56o ft. climb over 5.5 miles is quite strenuous.  Especially for an occasionally backpacker in his mid-50s with 12 lbs of camera gear!  My first post in this series is from the approximate halfway point – Alum Cave.

Alum Cave Composition 1
Alum Cave Composition 1

The cave is actually a large rock bluff or overhang. The area was the site of a salt deposits mine in the 1830s and was depleted and abandoned by the mid 1840s.  Minerals from the mine included alum, Epson salt, saltpeter, magnesia and copperas.  During the Civil War, the Confederates mined saltpeter here, a key component of gun powder.  I’ve included a color photo further below to illustrate the scale of Alum Cave.

Alum Cave Composition 2
Alum Cave Composition 2

This hike was the first field use of my new Tamron 15 – 30mm lens, Naida filter holder and 150 polarizer filter. I was very pleased with the lens, but need more experience using the filters. Because of the bulbous front element on the Tamron, a large filter holder adaptor system is required.  In my next several posts, I’ll include more scenes from the trail and also my first starscape/milky way composition.

Alum Cave Shot for Scale
Alum Cave Composition 1

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Click on one of the b&w images to see a high-resolution version from my photography portfolio site.

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