For updates on the Chimney Tops wildfire and National Park trail and backcountry closures the following link will provide additional information including a Facebook page:
Great Smoky Mountains News Release
Release Date: November 29, 2016, 5:57 p.m.
Contact: Dana Soehn, Dana_Soehn@nps.gov
Molly Schroer, Molly_Schroer@nps.gov
LeConte Lodge and Elkmont Undamaged by Fire
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that LeConte Lodge, the popular backcountry lodging facility at the base of Mount LeConte, and the Elkmont Campground and Historic Districts sustained no damage from the fire activities in the park on Monday evening. Some Elkmont buildings sustained roof damage from falling trees caused by heavy winds, and some roof repairs will be required.
The fires in the park and Gatlinburg community have now collectively been estimated to total over 15,000 acres. Tomorrow, November 30, the park will turn the fire management operation to the Southern Area Type I Incident Command Team (Dueitt) to manage the ongoing fire activities within the park. This team consists of federal and state interagency team members from across the country who collaboratively manages wildland fire and other incident management activities such as natural disaster relief efforts.
JP update: JP was evacuated on Monday morning and is safe and sound. He will post as soon as he is allowed back on the mountain.
It's a smoky morning up top! The high yesterday reached 49 degrees. The overnight low was 30 degrees. It was 31 degrees and smoky at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation. The trails are all still clear. The winds shifted yesterday and the smoke from the Chimney Tops fire has made the mountain smell like our neighbors are having a barbecue, but I didn't notice it affecting my breathing during my run yesterday. Fortunately, there is some heavy rain in the forecast tonight which should set the air quality straight and get our spring flowing hard again.
I went out for my first run of the season yesterday. My library is all organized and my throat bug has cleared up, so it was due time to get back on the singletrack. One of my favorite aspects of life up top is getting my little running pack organized with everything I'll need for a day out and just going. With no responsibilities beyond the morning weather and the blog, it's easy to disappear up here. The mountains are playgrounds for freedom lovers and running is about the most childish thing a grown man can do (without snow!), so combining the two creates smiles and adrenaline worth adjusting your priorities for. I started out on the Boulevard trail, enjoying the ice free conditions and rolling, runnable terrain. As I rounded past Myrtle Point, I noticed the gray haze of smoke driving up from the valley to my right. It was unfortunate to lose out on the big views that make Boulevard trail so distinct, but I knew that this would mean the trails would be relatively quiet. I only saw 1 other hiker on the Boulevard and 8 more on my way to Newfound Gap. I turned down the road and fought the heavy Sunday traffic to get to Alum as quick as possible and started my trudge back up to the lodge. The smoke didn't affect my breathing, but the gray skies did set my mood black. I love the clear, sunny days and the freshness of the winter fog, but this dry gray was simply alien. I focused on my breathing, knowing each footfall brought me a step closer to the lodge, took some photos before the home stretch, then jogged to the top of the stair case. I am looking forward to getting back the park I've come to love over the past five winters! This evening's rain will be a welcome sight.
It's another beautiful, clear day up top. The high yesterday reached 40 degrees. The overnight low was 23 degrees. It was 30 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation. There is a light frost on the ground but the trails are in great shape. The air quality up top is good. Get out and enjoy the day!
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 48 degrees. The overnight low was 24 degrees. It was 24 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation yesterday. There is a light frost on the ground, but the trails should be in fine shape. The air quality up top is back to normal. Get out and enjoy the day!
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 42 degrees. The overnight low was 36 degrees. It was 36 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation yesterday. The trails are in great shape and the air quality up top is good. Get out and enjoy the holiday weekend! It is best spent making memories outside with loved ones.
I spent the majority of the day yesterday resting up and doing a whole lot of nothing. After all this travel and moving about, I picked up a little throat bug. I'll be resting around camp, drinking tea and getting situated until this clears up. I still have to unpack all my books and settle into my cabin, so that'll take the lion's share of my attention over the next few days. Enjoy the trails for me!
It's a beautiful, misty morning up top! The high yesterday reached 44 degrees. The overnight low was 36 degrees. It was 40 degrees and foggy at 7am observation. The mountain received .30" of rain last night. The trails are in great shape - I am still marvelling at the work that was done on Alum! I hope that some of the smoke will have dissipated with last night's rain and heavy winds. There may be some light trail runoff today, but there is no ice anywhere on the trails. Get out and enjoy this beautiful day!
It is good (better than good, great!) to be back on the mountain. I have been rambling around these past few months and it is such a relief to be waking up in the same lovely cabin every day with familiar terrain right out my door. There are few things that beat the feeling of a new season of adventures on the brink. I have so many hikes to do, so many books read, so many laughs to share with friends. I am so fortunate to call the lodge my winter home. This season already feels like it has a character of it's own. I've never seen smoke on the trails like I have the past two days and it is rather eerie to pass all of my water bottle filling stations on the trail and see them dry as can be. It is an ominous start to the season, but I am still as eager as ever to get it all started! Thanks in advance for the warm welcome home and I look forward to seeing y'all up top!
It's our last full open day of the season and still chilly at 24/31.
We close tomorrow, JP comes up today, Thanksgiving in a few days, it's a busy week for everyone!!!
We have had a lot of cool and interesting folks up here, not to mention the amount of anniversaries, engagements, birthdays, and then a surprise wedding!
Us Crew have really enjoyed getting to know the guests coming up, the day hikers passing through, and all the NPS guys and ACE peeps over the season.
As we close out this week we would just like to thank everyone who ventured up here-- it's been a blast for us and hope you guys had fun.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and who knows what the New Year will hold.
Have fun with JP!
Leconte 2016 crew out.
Well, not literally.
It was 42 yesterday morning around 6-6:30. Within two hours we dropped to 28, our official low being 10 degrees.
Bring layers, traction devices, and rain gear! We are not sure if we'll get much of any precipitation so plan on anything.
The wind chill is .... Not pleasant so make sure you bring thermal gear.
Llamas today and Wednesday!
It's our last Sunday everyone!
Well, well, well.
It's our last weekend for the year!
The temps have been dipping quite a bit, 47/32 being our latest, but it still sounds like it will get pretty chilly (single digits, anybody?) with wind and a strong possibility of rain.
So please bring rain gear and layers if you're hiking up, it's going to be very cold over the weekend.
The air quality down below is still questionable, checking your local weather sites is strongly recommended before hiking up.
The wind is kicking in right now, it is going to be a chilly night for sure up here!
Have a great weekend and stay warm!
John Paul Krol
Welcome to the LeConte Lodge blog. We hope you enjoy the information we provide to make your trip to the lodge the best it can be.