Here is another newspaper column by Pulitzer Prize winner Ernie Pyle from his 1940 trip to Mount Le Conte. He vividly describes the views, the wildlife, the weather (record high 68 then vs. 81 now), and the accommodations at Le Conte Lodge ($4 then vs. $145 in 2017).Pyle's guide was Wiley Oakley, the famed "Roamin' Man of the Mountains." They climbed the Alum Cave Trail, and it may have been at Inspiration Point that Pyle had this epiphany: "It was then I realized, for the first time in my life, that there can be as much majesty and stirring beauty in eastern mountains as in the Rockies. Many times on the trail I just stopped and stared and stared. I don't know that I have ever seen a lovelier sight than the onward-stretching undulations of the haze-softened and color-splashed immensities of the Great Smoky Mountains."
This was one of a series of nine columns that Pyle wrote from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the fall of 1940. We previously posted his profile of Jack Huff. His columns were syndicated nationwide, and I clipped this copy from the Jackson (Miss.) Daily Clarion-Ledger, published October 29, 1940.
Want to see more of Ernie Pyle's columns from the Smokies? Explore these clippings that I've posted on newspapers.com. If the links don't work, let me know.
- President Roosevelt's visit and first impressions of the Smokies
- Alum Cave Trail and Ranger Harold Edwards
- Profile of Jack Huff and the story of his mom's backwards climb
- Storytelling with Jack Huff at Le Conte Lodge
- Wiley Oakley, Edna Lynn Simms, and Uncle Steve Cole's bear-choking tale
- Cades Cove, Emiel Larsen, and Laura Thornburgh's "Hearts-a-Bustin'-with-Love"
- The founding families of Gatlinburg: Ogle, Whaley, Maples, Huff
- Final thoughts on the Smokies and the demise of the traditional mountain culture