and if thou shalt strive to live only what is really thy life, that is, the present, then thou wilt be able to pass that portion of life which remains for thee up to the time of thy death, free from perturbations, nobly, and obedient to thy own daemon [to the god that is within thee] Marcus Aurelius
We had another mild, rainy day. The high was 42. The low was 32. It was 39 with wind and drizzle at observation. There was .40" of rain yesterday. All the trails are sure to be creeks today, so be ready to get wet. It looks like we may finally receive some snow tomorrow night!
The sun doesn't rise today. Day arrives as more of a gentle becoming. The sun illuminates shades of grey and they reflect on one another until you are forced to wonder; is it morning? The 7:47 sunrise is not so much a scientific fact as an offhand suggestion. I am forced to rely on my weatherproof sign that morning has arrived - the coffee is no longer too hot to drink.
We had another mild, rainy day yesterday. The high was 40. The low was 32. It was 36 and cloudy at observation. There was 1.03" of rain yesterday. The trail will be very wet, as there has been nearly 3 inches of rain over the past few days. It looks like there will finally be some sunshine on the mountain. This has been the longest stretch of cloudy days since I've been up here. I am hoping for the projected rain tomorrow evening to turn into snow! C'mon winter!
you must go and you must ramble through every briar and bramble 'till your life is in a shambles.
It was a mild, wet day yesterday. The high was 39. The low was 34. It was 39 and cloudy at observation. The mountain received .20" precipitation. There is no more snow on the ground and much of the ice has melted. I hiked Alum yesterday without using my spikes.
As we push further up the mountain, the minute changes that seem so apparent later in the evening when we look at our photos are invisible to us in the moment. We see the constant thickets of rhododendron, until we don't. We gradually acclimated ourselves to the dangerous footing, up top much of our photos capture exposed rock and a sea of ice along the waterbars. The air is always thickening into an ever soupier mix of grays. Solitary bursts of what look like foglights hidden behind the fields of omnipresent clouds that mix lighter shades into the sky at lower elevations are lost up top. Visibility sinks to 20 feet and the gray possesses a deepset kind of stubbornness. It is hard to believe that the sun will ever burn it off.
just one look and i fell so hard.
For I believe that climate does thus react on man — as there is something in the mountain air that feeds the spirit and inspires. Will not man grow to greater perfection intellectually as well as physically under these influences? Or is it unimportant how many foggy days there are in his life? I trust that we shall be more imaginative; that our thoughts will be clearer, fresher and more ethereal, as our sky — our understanding more comprehensive and broader, like our plains — our intellect generally on a grander scale, like our thunder and lightning, our rivers and mountains and forests, — and our hearts shall even correspond in breadth and depth and grandeur to our inland seas. Thoreau
It was a mild, albeit rainy day up top. The high was 38. The low was 34. It was 36 and cloudy at observation. There was .95" of precipitation. There is virtually no snow up top, but much of the ice in the darker corners of the trail will still be present. Be sure to know the limits of your abilities!
As the rain gently falls, I pack away my rain jacket. I want to feel this uniquely (can it be?) Januarian rain. Your mind's tendency is to transport you to a more appropriate venue for 50 degrees and light drizzling, such as an October day. However, the ice on the ground and lack of rich autumnal scents reveal it's Indian summer (or fall?) qualities. Only when we return to the lodge can we look at the calendar and confirm that it is actually a January day.
Top photo: Hiking up Alum. The trees have the same ethereal quality that I imagine is present in the Sierras. Above: Kim displays proper falling technique! Do not try to break your fall. You will just cause a more serious injury. A wet backside is a much more preferable fate than a dislocated shoulder.
I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace. Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
It was another spring day up on Mt. LeConte. The high was 45. The low was 35. It was 37 and hazy at observation. The snow up top is patchy and it seems like much of the treacherous ice is now benign.
The mist has returned. It lingers atop the staircase like a silken veil, choking off every view. If there's a world beyond this, I wouldn't know it. It adds an allure. It is for the true lover of nature. It is a gift to revel in what others regard as a toilsome misery. As Emerson said, the mystery of nature has never been displayed so happily.
When I was very young and the urge to be someplace was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked.... In other words, I don’t improve, in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable. John Steinbeck
It was another mild day yesterday. The high was 40. The low was 19. It was 37 and clear at observation. It looks like it'll be another great day today. Beware of ice on the trails, as it is sneakily hiding under a thin layer of snow right now.
I sat out near Cliff Tops for a few hours last night. Initially, I was out there for duty's sake - to fulfill my bloggy obligations at sunset. As things tend to happen amongst this majesty, I ended up feeling an ineffable calling to stay out. So I stuck around for the elusive, possibly mythical 2nd act - bobkitten viewing.
I sat as still as possible in the field where tracks are most prominent. I recall statues I've seen in Buddhist monasteries for inspiration - so still & serene. The moonlight creeps in dramatic ways through the trees. The tranquility that is only possible out here envelops me. It is not silence. It is an absence, a void. Not of noise, but of distraction. It amplifies the relevant sounds - the gentle breeze, trees straining in the distance. A mouse runs across the trail. At least I know that Bobkitten's food comes this way. As the full moon approaches, Bobkitten will do more hunting at night. I hope.
It were as well to be educated in the shadow of a mountain as in more classical shades. Some will remember, no doubt, not only that they went to the college, but that they went to the mountain. Every visit to its summit would, as it were, generalize the particular information gained below, and subject it to more catholic tests. Thoreau
It was a relatively mild day yesterday. The high was 29, but it was sunny and winds were low. The low was 20. It was 20 and clear at observation. The trails are still icy, so beware on the upper slopes.
This article in the New York Times mentions that "black-hole resorts" are now coming into vogue. LeConte Lodge both preceded and anticipated this phenomenon decades ago. Some truths are timeless. A memorable vacation is not spent watching TV in a different time zone, but in experiencing something vaster than your everyday. Strenuous physical activity, the grandeur of the natural world and intimate human interaction is the most authentic recipe for respite. I'm glad that the rest of the world is realizing that quiet is not a form of boredom, but of rejuvenation.
Yesterday was incredibly cold for the majority of the day! It was -4 as I woke up and stayed close to zero until nightfall. A warm front pushed in overnight, which made it seem like yesterdays' high was actually 23 when in fact that occurred overnight. The low was -4. It was 23 and clear at observation. We still have about an inch of snow on the ground.
_On my hike down to Alum, I was surprised to see much of the mountain was still coated in snow. This appears to be the first time that the entire mountain got blanketed, rather than the snow disappearing as you descend to lower elevations. Be prepared for the cold! We are CLOSED for the season, so make a reservation and be prepared (0 or near 0 degree sleeping bags! & warm pads!) to sleep in the shelter if you plan on overnighting!
As I rested by the Cave Bluffs yesterday, the blissful combination of strenuous hiking, a respite from negative temperatures in the forgiving sun and a simple foam sleeping pad allowed me to slip in and out of consciousness. Looking towards the sun, I would close my eyes and let the transcendentally strange lightshow play out against my eyelids. Prehistoric TV. I have wondered what those floating specks of light are. Stardust? I entertain the thought for a few hours (As Abbey says, somebody's gotta do it) and hike back up to my -4 degree sanctuary.
Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self needs strength. He who knows he has enough is rich. Perseverance is a sign of willpower. He who stays where he is endures. To die but not to perish is to be eternally present. Tao Te Ching
It was a cold one yesterday! The high was only 11. The overnight low was -4! It was -4 and cloudy at observation. It was sunny and clear for the majority of the day, then developed into flurries in the late afternoon. There's about an inch of snow on the ground. It's soft fluffy stuff, but there is some ice underneath it on the trails - so be careful!
As I type this in the allegedly heated kitchen, I see my breath creep ever upwards as I whistle to the radio. My hands are frigid like exoskeletons and I am wrapped cocoon-like in a wool blanket. It is starting to resemble the winter that was the drapery of my dreams in months of anticipation. This kind of cold is never something to be ignored, always provoking you and sending exhilarating shivers through to your core and rind. There is an eternal quality in this extreme weather. We are tied to past generations in these conditions, to prehistoric peoples who didn't take warmth and comfort for granted. It is a gift.
There is a tonic strength, in the hour of sorrow and affliction, in escaping from the world and society and getting back to the simple duties and interests we have slighted and forgotten. Our world grows smaller, but it grows dearer and greater. Simple things have a new charm for us, and we suddenly realize that we have been renouncing all that is greatest and best, in our pursuit of some phantom. William George Jordan
It was a bit nasty out yesterday. The clouds were persistent up top. The high crept up to 41, but dropped all day after about 11am. There was .30" of rain. There will be a cold front passing through today. It was only 6 at observation. Be prepared for some bitter windchills!
I hiked down Rainbow for a few miles yesterday. It felt necessary to savor the green rhododendron, as I'm not sure I'll see too many without frost in the coming months. The transition from harsh, high 30's rain up top to increasingly more gentle conditions as I lost elevation was tender as always. It was a kiss of spring in the midst of winter.
Welcome to the official blog of LeConte Lodge. We hope you find the information provided here both helpful and enjoyable. Thank you for visiting the site, and we hope to see you on the mountain!