MONDAY, JANUARY 30th, 2023
It looks like it will be another quiet morning here on Mt LeConte. The temperature here is 38 degrees. The low temperature last night was 30 degrees, so the snow has melted down to a depth of about two inches and is turning into slush. If you’re planning on getting out you should carry a raincoat as rain is predicted.
Now that I’ve finished washing the breakfast dishes this might be a good day to wash lamp chimneys and refill the lamps with kerosene. When I was a boy growing up on the farm fuel for the lamps was called “coal oil “—now it is “kerosene “. Now I’m wondering what changed? And why? And when? Here on the mountain I have plenty of time to ponder important matters such as this!
Well—I suppose that it’s time for me to get to work and take care of the lamps!
I hope that you have a marvelous Monday!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 2023
Good Morning, Everyone!
Saturday was an awesome day to be on Mt LeConte! I saw a larger than average number of day hikers and backpackers who decided to take advantage of the good weather, the weekend, and the opening of the roads.
Today at 7:00 AM the temperature was 35 degrees—fifteen degrees warmer than yesterday at the same time. The weather forecast is for rain today. I’m not expecting as many visitors on the mountain today as what I saw yesterday!
The good news is that the roads are still open!
I hope that y’all have a super Sunday!
From High On LeConte--
Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Today truly meets all of the criteria to be classified as another beautiful day on top of our favorite mountain: clear blue skies, four inches of snow, bright sunshine, and THE ROADS ARE OPEN! Some of my friends would tell you that I am the luckiest man in the world to be living as I do in such a PARADISE!
Since today is Saturday, and with all of the excellent conditions listed above, today is almost guaranteed to be a busy day on all of the trails to the top of Mt LeConte!
Yesterday I took advantage of the opportunity to hike the Bullhead Trail. I thought that I should do so in order to appear at least half way knowledgeable of the trails, and I hadn’t done Bullhead yet this year . The hike was a great refresher course for me—it validated all of those warnings that I’ve giving you about hiking gear and clothing. When I left the lodge the temperature was 6 degrees with four inches of dry powder snow on the ground. I was wearing a goose down jacket, wool cap, heavy warm mittens, gaiters, and traction devices. There was no snow at the trailhead at Cherokee Orchard. I was comfortable wearing just a long sleeve hollow core polyester shirt. The trip back up was the reverse—the high temperature for the day at the lodge was 15 degrees. So the point of this long dissertation is that if you come to the mountains, you should bring proper clothing for any and all situations that you might encounter.
A friend brought me a pint of apple butter today for me to put on my home made biscuits.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27th, 2023
Good Morning, Folks!
It’s clear and cold on top of Mt LeConte this morning! The temperature is six degrees. No precipitation last night. There are no clouds in the sky, so it should be bright and sunny today. There are four inches of snow on the ground.
The road to Newfound Gap is still closed. The Cherokee Orchard road is open.
My wife came up and made banana pudding for me! That was the highlight of the day. We didn’t see any other tracks, so I believe that we had the whole mountain all to ourselves. That doesn’t happen very often up here!
We spent a lot of time clearing the snow off solar panels, steps and decks. And feasting on banana pudding!
If you should decide to get out and enjoy the snow today and sunshine, be sure to dress warmly—mittens are warmer than gloves!
THURSDAY, JAN 26, 2023
Good Morning, Y’all!
I was somewhat surprised to see three inches of fresh snow when I got up this morning! The temperature is about 15 degrees. There’s very little wind, so it’s really quite beautiful in a wintry sort of way!
The road up to Newfound Gap remains closed. Cherokee Orchard is open.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned working in the kitchen. The picture above shows the biscuits. A friend who is a “biscuit queen “ shared this recipe with me. The picture below is of my French bread. I’m learning!
Today looks like I’ll be clearing snow off steps and decks. It seems like I just finished doing that! I think that I’ll have another cup of freshly brewed hot black coffee and listen to classic Bluegrass while I wait for the snow to stop falling.
I hope that y’all have a great day!
WEDNESDAY, JAN 25th, 2023
Good Morning, Folks!
So—what does “Paradise look like? 34 degrees, .80 inches rainfall (and still coming down), 50 to 80 mph wind!
Highway 441 is closed, and quite likely will remain so. If you should decide to venture out, it would be wise to carry an extra pair of dry wool socks. I met hikers yesterday who were wishing that they had done so.
This might be a good day to “play “ in the kitchen! Banana pudding, deviled eggs, biscuits, French bread, and etc. The views from Cliff Tops will probably be somewhat less than spectacular!
Try to stay warm and dry!
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2023
It looks like a beautiful sunny morning on Mt LeConte. The temperature at 7:00 AM was 18 degrees. Right now we have a beautiful blue cloudless sky with the sun shining brightly and no wind! However, the rangers are predicting a high wind warning for this evening with winds in excess of 70 mph. If Highway 441 should reopen today, the high wind warnings would close it again.
The trails should be in pretty good shape today with about four inches of dry powder at higher elevations. I came up Rainbow Falls yesterday with no problems.
I guess that I’ll be spending most of my time today shoveling and sweeping snow off of steps and decks. I hope that you can enjoy the beautiful weather today!
From High On LeConte!
The warm weather of this weekend allowed for some thawing of the mountain, but it didn’t last long. The thermometer topped out at 44° again but the low fell to 16°, plenty chilly before one accounts for the wind. Just as the sun began to set is when the precip transitioned over to snow. By this morning we were waking up to 3” of new powder across a clouded and calm mountaintop. The peace and profound quiet after (and during) a windless snow is something words fail to properly describe. Newfound Gap Road through the park is still closed due to the wintry conditions. It’ll remain cold tonight but skies could clear and see the return of warmer temps tomorrow.
Safe hiking to all who are out exploring the woods today.
It’s an ideal morning to sit in the kitchen and sip on coffee, listening to the wind and light rain on roof shingles. Yesterday’s conditions and statistics were basically a carbon copy of Friday. High of 44°, low of 22°, and here we are getting the day started at 34°. The mountain top is covered up in its usual cloud, and the mushy slushy snow continues to linger underfoot. Anyone wearing non-waterproof shoes will be miserable on trail today. And despite the above-freezing temps, we aren’t expected to stay there all day. We should see a break in the rain this afternoon, but by tonight temps will plummet and bring us a few inches of fresh snowfall. That’s the topsy-turvy nature of winter weather in the south!
Have a great end to the week.
It was a beautiful Friday up top, and this Saturday is starting out just as nicely. Yesterday’s high temp came in at 44° and our overnight low dipped to 22°. It’s currently 34° under thin and wispy clouds high above. There is still a decent amount of ice and hard-packed snow closer to the top of the mountain, so proper hiking boots and traction devices are highly recommended. Clouds are expected to thicken later today giving way to what could be a wet, then frigid, Sunday. Just as much of the snow we received last week has gradually melted away, it looks like we have another round incoming. Several more inches of the fluffy stuff is expected, so don’t be surprised if some park roads get closed again due to worsening travel conditions.
Have a great weekend and be safe in the mountains!
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