i seen the mountains and i seen the flatlands too. i seen all these city streets but i still go out searching for you.
It's a gorgeous, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 18 degrees. The overnight low was 5 degrees. The mountain received no new precipitation yesterday. There is still some patchy snow and ice remaining. The trails are particularly tricky right now. A lot of the snow and ice has melted, but then there are long stretches where Microspikes are essential. I'd prefer to be safe rather than sorry and wore mine the entire hike up Alum yesterday. All it takes is one footfall where there is unexpected black ice and you could have a serious fall far from help. Be careful and enjoy the day! It looks like it'll be a stunner.
It's another blustery morning up top. The high yesterday reached 28 degrees. The low was 3 degrees, recorded yesterday morning shortly after observation. It was 15 degrees and partly cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation. There is still some patchy snow left up top. I'd be sure to bring some traction devices today. Typically, I view them as a luxury... but right now, they are a necessity to safely summit. Almost everything further up than the double stair is a slick sheet of heavy ice. Without Microspikes, you're asking to get hurt. Enjoy the day!
The evening light as I hiked up Alum yesterday was spectacular. Photos do their best, but they are pale imitations of the real thing. I am so, so grateful to be adding more and more joyous jaunts to my memory bank. Life is just a series of moments and they can be as extraordinary as we are willing to let them to be.
It's a stunning, clear day up top. The high yesterday reached 8 degrees. The overnight low was negative 15 degrees. It was 4 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received an inch of new snow and there is about an inch total up top. The trails are full of black ice, so be sure to bring some sort of traction device (the gold standard is Kahtoola Microspikes, but something is better than nothing). If you just have boots or trail runners you will likely fall a good bit. Be careful and enjoy the wintry wonder!
I went for a little run yesterday afternoon in an effort to feel this remarkable weather, rather than merely observe it. The intensity of the cold was remarkable. Numbers do not do it justice. My chest tightened up and my body shivered, and then a funny thing happened - I adapted. This was not temporary and I'd have to bear it until it broke me. My body was not necessarily cooperating at first, but our wills carry us farther than we assume is possible. We just need to give them more opportunities to unfurl their powers.
The expanse of quiet was astounding. There were sounds, but each felt in it's place. Trees creaking under the strain of the wind, the rumble and howl of fresh gusts, the occasional shotgun bout of birdsong, my joyous footfall. The mountain saw many wild smiles. No one is alone when they play in the snow. Hours spent in bliss are not spent hours.
yesterday's love defines you. and today that love is gone. tomorrow keeps ya guessing, the roller coasters rolling on.
It's an ominous day up top. The high yesterday reached 27 degrees. The overnight low dipped down to 7. It was 7 degrees and mostly cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation, but there is still some patchy snow remaining up top. The trails are sure to be a bit slick, so be careful while hiking up today. The windchill is due to be below zero, so be prepared for a COLD lunch break if you intend to sit on one of the lodge's porches. It's sure to be warmer further down the mountain out of the wind, so please keep that in mind. A cold sweaty back + no more movement + no trees to break the wind = a break that hardly counts as a break, but as a sufferfest. Consider turning around if you're already cold on your way up. The mountain will always be here. At least a lot longer than any of us will, anyhow. All that said, have fun out there!
It's the kind of cold that replicates the effect of a good cup of coffee in the morning. WHOAOAAAAOA. A serious jolt. There isn't anything that cuts through you quite like an unexpected below zero breeze. It looked just about the same as it did yesterday, but man o man it is no joke out there. Don't let the sunny photo fool you, it is MEAN out right now. I have my deep winter gear on for the first time all season and am letting myself get excited for some real weather. Winter isn't coming, it has arrived. !!!!!!
It's another beautiful day up top. The high yesterday reached 27 degrees, although it felt cooler with consistent winds throughout the day. The low was recorded yesterday morning at 9 degrees. It was 22 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still some patchy snow remaining up top. I chatted with some day hikers and they said the ice wasn't too tricky on Alum. I'd still be extra careful, you never know where there is black ice lurking under fresh powder in conditions like this. Enjoy the day!
I spent the majority of the day yesterday reading. Enforced bed rest felt like captivity after weeks of running free in the mountains, but it is best to be safe after catching my first serious illness in years. I love the strenuous life, but the occasional taste of the leisurely life has it's charms as well. I listened to the wind, finished a great book and fell into another promising one, watched the light change outside my cabin window... and got scared when the moon came up (it looked like a flood light!). It has been pretty cloudy at night so I honestly hadn't seen my moon friend in a few days. It completely slipped my mind that we were due for a full moon. The new snow amped up the brightness to 11. I couldn't help myself and went strolling around camp without a headlamp. It was even more fun to venture into scraggly spruce firs, their shadows playing games with my mind as I went deeper and deeper. Nothing like a shot of danger just before bed to make your subconscious do backflips. Eat your carrots, night hike, dream big bobcat dreams.
Park Plans Alum Cave Trail Restoration
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the next full-scale, Trails Forever restoration will begin on Alum Cave Trail in 2015. The Trails Forever crew will focus restoration efforts on several targeted locations along the 5-mile trail to improve visitor safety and stabilize eroding trail sections. The restoration work will require temporary trail closures throughout the 2-year process.
Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park, leading hikers to iconic areas including Arch Rock, Inspiration Point, Alum Cave Bluffs, Mt. Le Conte, and LeConte Lodge. Park rangers respond to numerous accidents along the trail each year, especially along the upper, narrow corridors. The planned work will improve overall trail safety and protect natural resources by repairing historic cable and handrail systems, reinforcing hanging trail sections, reducing trail braiding, and improving drainage to prevent further erosion. There are also several narrow areas where erosion and small landslides have damaged significant sections of the trail, making it difficult to safely travel through the areas during inclement weather or to pass hikers coming from the opposite direction. By restoring these fragile trail sections, the park can best ensure long-term sustainability and protect trailside natural communities from degradation.
"Alum Cave Trail has so many unique natural and historic features," said Trails Supervisor Tobias Miller. "Our crew is working alongside the park's cultural and natural resource managers as we plan the restoration to insure that features are protected as we improve trail durability and safety."
Alum Cave Trail and associated parking areas will be closed May 4 through November 19 in 2015, excluding federal holidays, on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. Due to the construction process on the narrow trail, a full closure is necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. Hikers can still reach Mt. Le Conte, LeConte Lodge, and the Le Conte Shelter by using one of the other five trails to the summit. The Mt. LeConte Lodge and Mt. Le Conte backcountry shelter will remain open and can be accessed from any of these other routes during the Alum Cave Trail closure.
“A weekday closure of Alum Cave Trail is not an easy decision to make, but we feel it is necessary to ensure the continued protection of resources and safe use of the trail for hikers now and into the future,” said Acting Superintendent Clay Jordan. “We hope hikers will take this opportunity to explore another route to Mt. Le Conte, hike some of our other 800 plus miles of trail, or hike Alum Cave Trail on the weekends.”
The Boulevard, Bull Head, Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap, and Brushy Mountain trails all lead to Mt. Le Conte, but trailhead parking is limited. Carpooling is encouraged. Day hikers should also consider enjoying other trails offering stunning views such as Chimney Tops Trail, Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald, or the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion.
Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have donated $500,000 to support the program, in part through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for a highly skilled trail crew to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including the recently restored Chimney Tops Trail and Forney Ridge Trail. The program also provides a mechanism for volunteers to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations.
For more information about the Alum Cave Trail closure, please visit http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/alum-cave-closure-faqs.htm where you can find answers to frequently asked questions and updates on the trail restoration.
It's a stunning day up top. The clear, colour soaked skies and fresh snow are absolutely spectacular. The high yesterday reached 47 balmy degrees, then got down to 9 degrees overnight. It was a dramatic drop in just a few hours. It was 9 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received a 1/2" of new snow. The trails are sure to be rather icy with all the water from yesterday's near 2 inches of rain, so be prepared for some slick stuff underneath this gorgeous snow. Enjoy the day!
The mountain decided to treat me to some surprise snow and the results are fantastic. It is only about a half inch, but the rime coating everything is enough to change the character of all my favorite trees around camp. Snow is Nature's renewal. All is fresh and light and filled with promise. It is always amazing how much this change of scene; this frozen renewal, inspires me. I didn't realize just how much winter envy I had until my friend texted me a photo of their view in Colorado... and just that night, I find flurries flying as I head to bed. If you don't think the universe has a sense of humour, you're not paying attention.
It's another blustery morning up top. The high yesterday reached 47 degrees. The overnight low was 40 degrees. It was 41 degrees and mostly cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received a total of 1.85" of rain yesterday. There is no snow or ice remaining up top. The trails are sure to be saturated. Be prepared for a wet and windy day if you intend to summit.
Please keep in mind that the lodge is closed for the season. Pipes freeze in the winter, so you'll have to haul water from the spring like everyone else. The most shelter you can count on up top is crouching on an exposed porch for a few minutes. It is likely going to be colder than if you continue moving to a more sheltered spot in the trees further down the mountain. Have fun!
ever since i turned my life around, it still happens time to time. don't know what pain was yours or what pain was mine.
Such feeling, such longing, most of us have experienced in passing moods; but in the highlander it is a permanent state of mind, sustaining him from the cradle to the grave. To enjoy freedom and air and elbow-room he cheerfully puts aside all that society can offer, and stints himself and bears adversity with a calm and steadfast soul. To be free, unbeholden, lord of himself and his surroundings - that is the wine of life to a mountaineer. Horace Kephart
It's another gloomy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 43 degrees. The low came early yesterday morning, 20 degrees shortly after 7am observation. It was 40 degrees and mostly cloudy at observation today. The mountain received .21 inches of rain, making for some saturated trails. It's rather windy out today, so be prepared for wet, cold conditions if you intend to summit.
I apologize for not posting yesterday. I caught a nasty flu bug this past week and was busy resting up. I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to my friends Guy, Janice, Danny, Diana, Dick and Ann who all helped me to pick up some much needed relief from the valley without having to leave my bed. I am already starting to feel better and can't express my gratitude enough. I have some truly wonderful friends.
It's another beautiful morning up top. The high yesterday reached 29 degrees. The overnight low got down to 16 degrees. It was 19 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is no snow remaining up top. The trails are sure to be a little slick with freezing overnight temperatures, but you should be able to make it up without traction devices and a bit of caution. Enjoy the day!
Sunset was spectacular, yet again. It's rare to get two great shows in a row, but last night delivered. It wasn't quite the uniform sea of clouds that we were treated to two evenings ago... somehow, the variation in the clouds made for even more compelling gazing. The clouds ebbed into the firs with a mystery you'd expect to see in an old crystal ball. A fitting reward for a year spent well.
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!