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Hurricane Katrina

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First Grandchild

Second Grandchild

Joe's Pages

Gulf Coast House
(Destroyed by Katrina)

LeConte Lodge

Gracie McNicol:
Up LeConte
244 Times

Gracie McNicol is one of the legendary individuals associated with Mount Leconte.  Gracie was a nurse.  She never married and lived a quiet, frugal and very full life.  Born 1 October 1891.  At age 62 she left her job in Alaska and set out to find a new job; she found one at Blount Memorial Hospital, Maryville, TN, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

In the spring of 1954 Gracie joined a hike in the Smokies, led by a national park ranger, that went up the Alum Cave Trail to the bluffs that give the trail its name.  The ranger told the party of hikers that another few miles up the trail was the top of Mount LeConte, the location of LeConte Lodge.  A few weeks later, Gracie rode a bus from Maryville to Knoxville where she caught a bus going from Knoxville over the mountains to North Carolina.  She got off the bus at the Alum Cave Trail trailhead and, on 14 June 1954, Gracie made her first hike up LeConte.

On 30 September 1983, at age 92, Gracie rode horseback for her last trip up LeConte.  In all she hiked up LeConte 155 times and rode horseback another 89 times.  Gracie kept diaries of her life, including notes of her adventures in the Smokies.  She was especially fond of wildflowers and her diaries include descriptions of the flowers she encountered on her hikes.

Gracie died on 10 September 1991, only three weeks before her 100th birthday. 

Gracie, 1969
Age 78

I commend to everyone the book Gracie and the Mountain, by Emilie Ervin Powell, available from

I worked at LeConte Lodge for two summers, 1962 and 1963.  Also, I made several winter trips up LeConte to open the Lodge during the off-season for special visitors.  I was fortunate enough to meet Gracie on several occasions.


LeConte Lodge Site Table of Contents

Photo album
Brief history of LeConte Lodge
 Joe's LeConte stories
Reverend A. Rufus Morgan 
Gracie McNicol: 244 times up LeConte
 Links to other sites
LeConte Lodge in winter
LeConte Llama Wrangler Retires After Ten Years
(Nov 2011)
Suggested reading
How to submit your articles for publication. 


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