SMOKY MOUNTIAN NATIONAL PARK, Tenn. (WATE) — One man has made it his goal to climb to the top of Mount LeConte 100 times before the end of 2021.
Believe it or not, he’s pretty close to achieving it.
Timothy Massey’s first trip to Mount LeConte was when he was five years old. He doesn’t remember that trip too well, but he’s been back a few times since.
“Backpacking has been one of my favorite things in the past 20 years to keep in shape,” Massey said.
He’s backpacked several parts of the Appalachian Trail.
“Elkmont area, backpacking up there all along little river trail going up, it’s beautiful up there. I’ve done that several times in this past ten years.”
However, he always goes back to his favorite hiking spot.
“In the higher elevations like LeConte, you can already tell a lot of different colors are forming in just the past couple of weeks.”
The trip up the mountain isn’t easy. There are five hiking trails that lead to the top of Mount LeConte that range in length from 5 miles to 9.1 miles.
“Once you get up to the flat you have just this quarter-mile of the evergreen tunnel I would call it,” he said.
The views are breathtaking no matter the season Massey added,
“To me, there’s never been a bad time to go up there.”
He’s made the climb close to 100 times in his life and is working to hit that number before the year ends,
“That’s the goal for this year is 100. I’m sure I can do it.”
“Yesterday I went up for my 92nd time,” Massey said. “The 27th of this month will be my 93rd trip. So seven more is not a big deal really.”
He said the staff at LeConte Lodge have come to know him pretty well,
“The contractor asked if we could help on some projects up there.”
Now he’s helping to restore some of the building at the lodge and has carried materials for them by foot. He’s made six different trips hauling shingles and they’ll start replacing them at the end of this month.
He’ll add those trips to his goal of 100.
When Massey hikes that trail, he thinks back to the first time when he was five. That boy who saw the beauty in Mount LeConte is now working to help preserve it and reaching big goals along the way.
Massey has also partnered with an organization called Save Our Smokies. In an effort to help protect our national park, the group will have a park-wide cleanup on Saturday, September 25. You can find out how you can join here.