Troop 868 in Action
(Summer Camp -- June 11~25, 2011)

Troop 868 Home Page               Troop 868 in Action

Page 5 of 9

On Tuesday afternoon we were back on the road headed toward Gatlinburg where we stayed two nights at the Gatlinburg United Methodist Church and spent the day Wednesday hiking to the top of Mount LeConte, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.  We had a nice 5 mile hike up the mountain and ate lunch at Mount LeConte Lodge at the top.  As we dined, a storm rolled in and the mountain was engulfed in a think cloud that turned day into night!  Then we had a 5 hike down the mountain in drenching rain!  We were soaked to the bone and most of us had water in places that sometimes don't even get we when we shower!  Most of us were wearing tennis shoes for the next several days as our hiking boots dried out.  Despite the discomfort of getting soaked, everyone enjoyed the challenge and I'm sure this was one of those experiences that boys will someday tell their sons and grandsons about.  Character is built one step at a time and we built a lot of character that day!

On Thursday morning we drove past Knoxville and through Pigeon Forge to reach the "secret city" of Oak Ridge, TN.  Oak Ridge is the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the home of atomic energy.  With advance contact, we were able to arrange a tour to visit the graphite nuclear reactor where Uranium 238 for the first atomic bomb was produced.  A number of elements have been added to the Periodic Table as a result of research conducted at Oak Ridge.  Today, Oak Ridge National Lab is home to a computer center that houses several of the world's most powerful computers.  We got to see the computer center and spend time in the computer visualization lab where numerical data is transformed into graphical formats to make it easier to understand.  The folks at ORNL gave us a really great tour.  We spent one night in Oak Ridge at Kern United Methodist Church.

On Tuesday night we arrived in Gatlinburg.  We walked the main street in search of a restaurant that appealed to everyone. About 10 AM Wednesday morning, we began our ascent to the top of Mount LeConte via the Alum Cave Trail.
The trail was beautiful with many creeks to cross and some huge rock formations.  It was pretty much uphill all the way, but by Scouting standards, it was only moderate in difficulty. We passed quite a few tourists of all ages. 
We had no problem sticking together as a group.  It took us about 4 hours to climb 5 miles, which was a pretty good pace considering the range of ages and hiking experience; for a couple of our guys, this was their very first hike.
About 2:30 PM we reached our destination --- the top of the mountain.  The cabins are available for rent and a popular vacation destination for folks who really like to "get away from it all."  There is water, but no indoor plumbing or electricity. LeConte Lodge at the top of Mount LeConte, highest peak east of the Mississippi.  Elevation 6593 feet above sea level.  Food is brought to the lodge weekly via pack mules.  The only way for visitors to get here is to hike one of three trails.
Breakfast at Gatlinburg United Methodist Church on Thursday morning.
Arriving at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Visitors Center. Inside the National Center for Computation Science waiting for our tour guide.
Inside the Visualization Lab at Oak Ridge facing a wall of computer monitors.  The goal of the visualization lab is to present complex mathematical data in a graphical format that makes in easier for people to understand.  Among other things, they showed us computer models of weather data, popular projections, and worldwide power usage.

PrevPage.gif (511 bytes)  PREVIOUS PAGE    

    NEXT PAGE  NextPage.gif (508 bytes)