MT. LECONTE, TENN — . Anne Springs Close, the 87-year-old matriarch of the Springs textile family in Fort Mill, reached the summit of Mt. LeConte in Tennessee on Thursday after a five-hour climb along a wet trail.
It was the 50th anniversary of her first trek up the 6,593-foot mountain, which she has scaled almost every year since 1963. After spending Thursday night in a cabin atop the peak, she plans to descend on Friday. She was part of a group of 36 hikers primarily from the Charlotte region.
To prepare for climbing, Close hikes daily along the 40-mile network of trails at the Anne Springs Close Greenway, a 2,100-acre natural preserve in Fort Mill that her children donated for public use as a tribute to their mother’s devotion to nature.
Close guesses she’s ventured up Le Conte with 100 or so people over the years. It’s a mindset for challenging herself, for keeping fit, for embracing nature – especially now.
“When you get my age you have to,” Close said. “If you lose it, it’s not coming back.”
Last month, Close climbed Mount Washington for the second time. The first was in 1939.