It's another blustery day at LeConte Lodge. The high yesterday reached 47 degrees. The low dipped down to 40 degrees. It's currently 46 degrees and cloudy. The trails should be in near summer conditions. I tramped all around the mountain yesterday evening and saw ice in only the most shadowy and solitary crevices.
There's plenty of rain in the forecast for the coming days and the low pressure system creeping in on us was responsible for some eerie weather up top yesterday. This is weather with character. At about 4pm, the clouds started to lose their stronghold on the sky up top. The sun still refused to burst through, but it's reflection on the ever changing congregation of clouds was enthralling. It left the entire side of camp in a gilded light. I was reading on my front porch and couldn't help but drop my book and watch for a spell. Sky on fire. I hiked out to sunset, but the most spectacular of the show had passed. C'est la vie. It was great while it lasted.
12/5/2013 12:51:14 am
I enjoy these posts immensely! LeConte just gets under your skin.
12/10/2013 02:20:22 am
12/5/2013 01:12:19 am
JP: Thanks for the terrific weather yesterday on the big mountain. I had a great time running all the trails to LeConte...up Rainbow Falls, down Trillium Gap, up Bull Head, down Alum Cave, up the Boulevard, down Trillium Gap/Brushy Mtn. 10 hours and 49 minutes and 11,000 feet of climbing. Terrific Fun!
12/5/2013 01:25:54 am
Jeff: IMPRESSIVE! I am estimating this at about 43 total miles which would be about 15 minute miles on average. Since my average trail speed is about 30 minutes a mile (and nowhere near 43 miles in a day) that is amazingly good to me!
12/5/2013 06:23:11 am
Thanks Paul. I think you are speaking of Dave Worth, who's record I was chasing yesterday. His time on the LeConte challenge was 10 hr and 3 minutes. He also holds the record for SCAR (Smokies Crossing Adventure Run), which is the AT portion of the Smokies, 72 miles as you mention. I've completed that one in 23 hours, which is rather pedestrian compared to Dave's time of 14 hours and change.
12/5/2013 01:53:23 am
Good going! I see by your website that this was just any ol' Wednesday for you. ;) Impressive resume of races. It looks like you going to make your goal of 50 by 50. Quite the accomplishment. Congrats!
12/5/2013 06:26:25 am
Thanks Missy. My website is a bit out of date. I just finished my last ultra in New Hampshire at the Ghost Train 100 miler in October. That makes all 50 states. I'm happy to be done so that I can spend much more time running the trails in the Smokies. I've run in mountain wilderness in many states, but nothing beats the Smoky Mountains.
Yes, I agree with Paul B in that your feat is somewhat impressive. But at my age such accomplishments are of no interest, but long distance hiking will always be. One of my favorite long(er) hikes is that A.T. portion through the Smokies Park Paul mentioned; I've done in several times since the 1970's, roughly once every five years, give or take a year - - I'm about a year overdue now, though; That mileage is something I've seen several figures on; most of my trail maps, if I've added correctly, give about 68 mi, but if you factor in some extra distance to reach those shelters off the trail a bit, then the total may well be closer to 72, but this is all relative, eh !? If you do the A.T., you'll have to keep us informed; It's possible that you could do it in two days I imagine. Good luck regardless. G'day
12/5/2013 02:17:38 am
Not just the section of AT in the Smokies, my favorie of the AT, but I still feel the thrill of doing the entire trail. It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact you walked the 2,186 miles in a thru hike. Loved it and enjoy reliving it. Met JP the first time in Vermont while hiking the AT. What a blessing he has been to me and definitely one of the benefits of the trail-those encountered along the way. I do enjoy his musings.
12/5/2013 06:30:35 am
That is a terrific experience Paul. In the trail running community we refer to running that section of the AT as the SCAR (Smokies Crossing Adventure Run). Dave Worth holds the record at 14 hours and change. It always seems to get the better of me. My best so far is 23 hours. We've estimated it at 72 miles and about 18,000 of elevation gain.
12/5/2013 06:31:51 am
Sorry! I meant Doug, not Paul!
12/5/2013 03:38:12 am
Amazing feat, Jeff. I think my legs just got a little sore thinking about it. :)
12/5/2013 08:26:07 am
Great job Jeff! I too, just looked at your site. I too would just like to walk all you've run. That's awesome!!
12/6/2013 03:39:05 am
Me too, Debi!
12/6/2013 12:34:33 am
I'm impressed Jeff!! Wow!! Do you have a "S" tattooed on your chest? That's over 42 miles of running!! Any witnesses?
12/6/2013 12:40:16 am
I thought this website was about Mt. Leconte and not some self serving, narcisstic, arrogant person who obviously has to self proclaim his "greatness" by posting his "feets" a little play on words Jeffrey on here. Maybe I was wrong!!
12/6/2013 12:46:37 am
You're right in that this site is mostly about Leconte Lodge, but Jeff's comments are related to the general lodge experience so aren't unacceptable; Your criticisms are unwarranted.
12/6/2013 12:57:35 am
Jack, who died and made you the webmaster for the Leconte website? Maybe it was unwarranted, or whatever that big word you used, to me it was just a "bit" self serving in my humble opinion. I've hiked extensively throughout the entire park system, I've been to Leconte numerous time, I've been a runner for over 40 years, do you see where I'm going here Jack, let Jeffrey put his hero worship on a running website. This website is for normal folks, not superman types in my opinion. Humble would have been for Jeffrey to say he was on the trails yesterday, I'm surprised he didn't give his mile splits!
12/6/2013 01:19:48 am
Good Lord. Here we go again.
12/6/2013 03:27:51 am
Doesn't seem like there's a safe haven from trolls anywhere on the internet, eh Tony Ga? At least it's a rare occurrence here.
12/6/2013 03:56:47 am
That's right Kent.
12/6/2013 03:53:08 am
Jeff Woody: Congrats on completing your goal of all 50 states! I'm glad you started your post about running all of the trails up to and around the lodge. I had no idea that was possible nor did I know about the types of races that you've run. Since I'm a hiking novice, I always enjoy learning about a new sub-culture of the hiking community. Have you set a new goal?
12/5/2013 01:14:19 am
Love the pictures. Glad to hear you have settled in on the mtn. I would love to be there right now.
Teresa Majors May
12/5/2013 01:22:53 am
I so look forward to your post. Keep up the good work. My friend Henry Neel use to work up there and he was winter keeper once.
12/5/2013 02:01:54 am
It has been 2 months since I migrated south for the winter along with the monarchs. This blog is the first place I visit with my coffee. JP, your posts bring a sense of quiet calm to my hectic day ahead. Enjoy your stay on the mountain, peace be in your soul this winter. I envy you.
12/5/2013 03:31:58 am
Mamaw B: I saw the movie documenting the AT at the ATC fundraiser a couple months ago and I think you were in it briefly or they mentioned you. Your "Trail Name" sounded familiar and I said, Hey, I "know" her. Or was that someone else on the big screen and I am completely off base?
12/5/2013 03:37:13 am
Looking at my calender today and realized it's just a mere five weeks from this upcoming Saturday until I will hopefully be driving down to the Smokies, and heading up to LeConte the day after.
Hey Kent: I've hiked up to the lodge during winter and their off-season but have never lingered there as it's closed; I was wondering if there are any facilities available at all during this closed time ? Regardless, winter is a favorite time for me to hike as there are no tourists except for the spartan folks who enjoy the season as I do; this winter will not see me on the trails with my upcoming knee surgery, but after my recovery I will hit the trails in earnest again ! G'day
12/6/2013 03:08:30 am
I'm not sure about facilities, doug y. Perhaps the restrooms might still be available for use. Aside from that, I wouldn't think so.
12/5/2013 03:43:16 am
Always find myself reading this blog the days before I make a trip to the Smokies. ...I'm headed down for a trip Friday through Monday. I will mostly be hiking around Clingman's ridges: are they still calling for rain at elevation, or is there a chance of snow? Thanks in advance.
Richard from MA
12/5/2013 06:01:52 am
"And you're so kind and careful not to go to her too soon..."
12/5/2013 06:55:53 am
12/5/2013 08:33:17 am
JP, thanks for introducing me to the blog man! Went back to read some posts old and new...inspiring stuff. Sounds like the place a man could find some time to see what the world really is.
12/5/2013 08:52:31 am
Can't get enough of your posts! The mountain is calling my name!
I just had to reply to your comment Rachel; It's hard for me to truly explain and describe to some people that the Smokies "call to me" !! This feeling is a real and definite sensation I get, and it increases in intensity in direct proportion the closer I get to those wonderful mountains !
12/8/2013 12:00:57 am
I agree 100%. The mountains call my name also. I read JP's posts as a way to get a daily dose of mountain magic. :D I live less than 2 hours away from GSMNP, but I feel like I can never get there enough to satisfy my desire to hike the glorious trails of the Smoky's.
Jeff Woody: At my age I'm not interested in records, and never was actually; just being content with backpacking, hiking, and tent camping is enough to satisfy me; I love helping others, especially when it involves these passions of mine. I accept your estimate of 72 mi for the A.T. thru the Smokies and that elevation gain sounds like it includes both ascents and descents; regardless, it's quite a figure and interesting to learn that; Doing that route is definitely quite a feat ! I've done it in as little as four days (back in the day !) and up to ten days if I'm just "strolling along" !! Whatever the time required it is a superb hike for a not-too-long distance; I'm having a problen posting all my comments here; I keep getting an error message that there was "an error" in posting, so it's either my old computer or something I haven't identified yet, although I have my suspicions; Keep in touch Jeff - - I enjoy the accounts of your adventures, etc. G'day
12/6/2013 01:07:45 am
Doug: Are you still working on your own website ?
Yes, Jack, but progress is excruciatingly slow; One problem is my old computer here is so bloody sluggish I get angry and frustrated with it every time I try to alter my site, and, I guess I need to rely on godaddy for more technical assistance rather than my own feeble efforts; All I lack for the site now is the capability to exchange comments with others who share my passion for hiking and related things, essentially a blog site similar to this one. In time I'll get it right. G'day
12/6/2013 01:48:40 am
Terry Mullins: What's put a burr up your rear !? Sounds like you're jealous. So, who died and made you Judge !? I must compliment you, however, on one thing: You have a good writing style. I recall learning how to write in the fourth grade and so must have you. Those must have been the best three years of your life.
12/6/2013 07:11:38 am
OB VEE US LEE JAK, YEW MUSS UH BEE UG ENG LUSH TEACH HER SUM WHWERES. HOW diD You KNoW My UNCLE WUZ a judge in Goat Springs, TENN? YOU ob vulus lee must make a livin as a Clair VOY RANT. AS fur as my ed u cat ion goes I make to thu 5thh grade.
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