On Saturday, we topped out at 59 degrees. Our official overnight low was 34, but that actually came about 7 a.m. on Saturday. The real low for Saturday night into Sunday didn't drop much, as we bottomed out at 47 degrees. The 47-degree reading marked our warmest temperature at observation (about 6:30 a.m. when we call in the LeConte weather conditions to the park service) in 2014. The thermometer has already cracked 60 degrees, so it must be an unseasonably warm April Sunday in the valley.
Spring is marching its way up the mountain. I saw the bright green of new growth most vividly as I drove up Highway 441 toward the Alum Cave Bluff parking lot last week. A moat of verdant chlorophyll surrounds Castle LeConte and grows skyward.
Speaking of the Alum Cave Bluff trailhead, we received word that the park service will close the upper of the two lots for some construction work. We expect the closure will last about a week. Thus, competition for spaces in the lower lot will be tight for a while.
I visited with a frequent dayhiker this morning who reported that, for the first time in his trips up the mountain, his was the first car in the Rainbow Falls parking lot. He chose to ascend Bullhead Trail and didn't see another human until he arrived at LeConte Lodge. Depending on your perspective (and I frequently hear both sides of the story), that solitude is either the favorite or least favorite thing hikers list about the Bullhead Trail.
I had the pleasure of seeing another couple of dayhikers who are annual overnight guests, as well. They did a dayhike up and down Alum Cave Bluff Trail Saturday. They returned Sunday with a dayhike via the Boulevard Trail, building up to 16 miles roundtrip. These nice folks are training for a rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike next month, and using our fair mountain to build strength. We wish them a fine adventure to one of the greatest sights in the world, and will be glad to welcome them back to LeConte.
Thank you all for reading. If you have any ideas or questions for future posts in the months to come please comment and let me know. I'm sure I won't know the answer to some of the questions, but maybe there will be something I can shed some light on for you. If you're planning on coming up in the next few days, make sure you plan for wet weather (always a good idea when scaling LeConte). Happy trails.