It is a beautiful, clear Sunday morning. The high yesterday reached 48 degrees. The overnight low was 32 degrees. It was 40 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is only about 6 inches of snow remaining up top. There are deeper drifts, but yesterday's foot traffic has packed down much of the snow on trails. I'd expect Alum to be a breeze in these conditions. It looks as though it is shaping up to be a beautiful day, get out and enjoy it!
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 36 degrees. The overnight low reached 14 degrees, but a warm front passed through overnight and it was 35 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still about 6 inches of snow remaining up top with deeper drifts. The trails are getting better - Alum is packed down, but there are a few tricky sections with drifts covering cables. There was very little ice, it was all covered by snowpack. I slid down early in the morning and was shocked by how little I was slipping. Get out and enjoy these great snow conditions! It doesn't look like they will last long...
But I must wait. Wait and listen. That inner stillness is the only way to reach these inner marvels, these inner miracles all of us possess. And when truth strikes, that brief, blinding illumination tells me what every writer comes to know. If you would write the truth you must first become the truth. George Sheehan
It's a cloudy, moody morning up top. The high yesterday reached 35 degrees. The overnight low was 19 degrees. It was 19 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still about 8 inches of snow remaining up top, with deeper drifts. The trails are still rather tricky up top, with frozen crusts and deep drifts allowing the most zen hikers to lose patience. It is near impossible to develop a rhythm, so be prepared for some frustrating conditions if you intend to reach the summit. Nonetheless, it's far better than the couch - get out and enjoy the real world!
I had another day of mixed ambitions yesterday - I put the finishing touches on a few job applications (unfortunately, I need to come out of this early retirement!), went for some light meandering, but mostly I just read in my cabin. Ironically, I noticed on my trip to Aspen that I live a rather luxurious life. By luxury, I do not mean conventional luxury. I have a different kind of richness - the ability to choose how I fill my days with very little outside influence. It is a luxury in time and feelings, rather than material goods. It is the most distinct aspect of being a winter caretaker - absolute freedom.
I was pretty tired yesterday and it's such a joy to be able to indulge in that, to sit in that fatigue and truly feel it rather than push through it out of 'obligation'. I've learnt how my mind and body react to certain activities. Any time I want a particular sensation, I know just what I have to do to manifest that emotional state. I can read a book, I can go out for an adventure, I can write a postcard, I can bake some bread, I can phone a friend, I can meditate, I can do nothing. It is all amplified up here, nothing becomes something and the little somethings add up to a big everything.
This was how our parents taught us to love the mountains: They made us feel like part of them. Because, in essence, mountains are like people: To love them, you must first get to know them, and when you do, you can tell when they are angry and when they are happy, how you should handle them, play with them, care for them when people hurt them, when it is better not to annoy them. But unlike any person, the mountains, nature, and the earth are much, much bigger than you are. You must never forget that you are a speck, a speck in space, within the infinite, and they can decide at any moment whether they want to erase that speck or not. Kilian Jornet
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 34 degrees. The overnight low was 20 degrees. It was 27 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still around 8 inches of snow remaining, though there are still some deep drifts remaining. The mountain is in a beautiful inversion right now, I suppose it's the time of the season. The trails are rather rugged right now - the snow has frozen over again, so if you posthole in shorts (I might be speaking from experience) you'll cut up your shins and look really cool but be quite uncomfortable. I'd still recommend some sort of traction devices and snowshoes if you intend to reach the top with the least amount of frustration. Get out and enjoy winter's joys!
I went out for a little sunset adventure last night. I'm supposed to be resting up, but I have a new pair of shoes and the air was calm... the trails were calling. I left just in time to dance through the snow and get to Cliff Tops to catch the show. It's always special when there is an inversion (we haven't had nearly as many as last season)... I haven't seen another hiker in days, which adds something to it as well. It's just my life and undisturbed nature and that show of colours.
I think it is fear of death that frightens us when we lose contact with what is man-made. Our family and friends accustom us to the safety of the rational world, where every element focuses on the protection of our own, and when we are cut off from that shelter, we feel vulnerable, as if the path our life is pursuing could be interrupted at any moment by unknown perils. It is irrational, but the love we feel for humanity takes us over, makes us feel we belong there, cradles us in its arms. That feeling accompanies us everywhere, keeping us safe, yet at the same time muting the instinct that allows us to explore beyond its frontiers. Kilian Jornet
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 36 degrees. The overnight low was 21 degrees. It was 21 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received 1 inch of new snow, though we experienced quite a bit of melt yesterday. There is about 10 inches of snow up top, with deeper drifts along the way. The mountain received .45 inches of liquid precipitation, which was a wintry mix through the early evening. The snow conditions are rather fickle. I'd still recommend snowshoes to minimize postholing, but Microspikes will get you up the mountain. The Park Service did some incredible work on the roads and both Cherokee Orchard and 441 are open. Get out and enjoy the majesty!
I've been enjoying some well earned rest and relaxation after a few long days on my feet. I'm settling back in my cabin, applying for jobs, reading, writing, napping and revelling in my solitary existence. I miss my friends, but there is something special about time alone, having no demands and letting the days pass as my will allows. There is nothing I have to do, only things that I wish to do. It is a rare breed of freedom, with the wind and stars as my companions.
It's a foggy, warm morning up top. The high yesterday reached 39 degrees. The overnight low was 10 degrees, recorded early yesterday morning. It is currently 35 degrees and raining lightly. The mountain received .02" of drizzle. The snow levels have dropped to about 18 inches, although the drifts are plenty deep in spots. I postholed on the way to the kitchen, so expect some frustrating conditions if you intend to reach the summit. It looks like it is shaping up to be an alluring Smoky Mountain day, get out and enjoy it!
I've spent the past ten days all over the place. It has been a whirlwind in all the right ways. It has given me new eyes and allowed me to appreciate all the seemingly minute pleasures about getting to call the lodge home. I've been driven to exhaustion by travel and physical activity, but it is all worth it for those final, redemptive snowshoe steps down the main staircase. It is a wonderful sense of relief knowing that I can spend the week recovering from my efforts in my cabin with my forever fascinating book friends, some good dark coffee and a dead tired yet happy heart. I will keep my eyes sharp and my soul hearty with some little night hikes - this bright moon and new snow is just too much to pass up...
A big thank you to my incredible trail angels who made all this possible - the Jones', the Underwoods, TT, Dick & Al, Sherry and my Mom! I am so grateful.
As I walked in the woods I felt what I often feel, that nothing can befal me in life, no calamity, no disgrace (leaving me my eyes) to which Nature will not offer a sweet consolation. Standing on the bare ground, with my head bathed in the blithe air, and uplifted into the infinite space, I become happy in my universal relations. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental. I am the heir of unaccustomed beauty and power. Emerson
It's another beautiful, blustery morning up top. The high yesterday reached 37 degrees. The overnight low dipped down to 19 degrees. It was 25 degrees and snowing heavily at 7am observation. The mountain received about 6 inches of new snow, bringing our total snowfall to 13 inches. The snow is difficult to measure due to the high winds - our snow stake is only showing 2 new inches but it is significantly more than that. The liquid equivalent was 1.20 inches of meltwater. The wind has been roaring all night, so there are quite a few knee high drifts near the lodge. If you intend to head out today, I'd recommend top of the line winter gear - traction, boots, wool socks, gaiters and comfortable layers are a must. It is real out there, enjoy it!
I am headed off to Huntsville, AL for a trail race. The blog will return Monday morning. Have a great weekend!
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 28 degrees. The overnight low was 16 degrees. It was 19 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received 4 inches of new snow, bringing our total to 7 inches. The meltwater equivalent of that new snow was .48 inches. It looks as though it will be a phenomenal day, get out and enjoy it!
I had a great time exploring the mountain with my pals yesterday afternoon. I always relish these long, winter days when the roads are closed. We saw more bobcat tracks and voles than fellow hikers. The flurries were flying and the wind was drifting snow all around us. Ice was forming around our jackets and beards, lending an arctic quality to our micro adventure. The wind was most intense at Cliff Tops, while the snow was ideal consistency for snow angels at High Top. If the weather projections are correct, I'll be skiing tomorrow morning before I hike down for Mountain Mist. Snow days are the best days.
A Russian writer named Prishvin said, 'Home is where you have found your happiness.' I think I know where that may be, at least for myself. I'll reveal this much: it has something to do with those mountains, those forests, those wild, free, lost, full-of-wonder places that rise yet (may they always!) above the squalor of the towns. Edward Abbey
It's a beautiful, snowy morning up top! The high yesterday reached 25 degrees. The overnight low was recorded yesterday morning and it was 3 degrees. It was 24 degrees and snowing lightly at 7am observation. The mountain received an inch of new snow, bringing our accumulated total to 4 inches. The trails are very -slick, Alum took me at least 50% longer than usual due to the ice dancing - and that was with Microspikes. The new snow should add some traction, but I would absolutely recommend traction if you intend to get very far. As of this posting, US 441 is closed. Get out and enjoy this beautiful day!
I had a wonderful hike up yesterday afternoon. It was so refreshing to be back in the rhododendron tunnels, indulging in the distinct smells of the Smokies after my time skiing out West. There is a sparseness and unspeakable beauty, a delicacy beyond words in the Western landscape. There is not a thing but the aspens, pines and deep (40 inches of base!) snow... but the forest here has so much going on. I missed the mosses, the understory and ice formations of my home mountain. I got up to the double stair just as the sun was setting and the reds on the horizon seemed to hold on forever, revealing the sun's secrets to my friends and I.
It's a beautiful, cold morning up top. The high yesterday reached 20 degrees. The overnight low was 3 degrees. It was 8 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received the liquid equivalent of .04 inches of snow. There is still a trace of snow on the ground and the trails are sure to be a bit slick. I would definitely recommend Microspikes if you intend to reach the summit. Get out and enjoy this beautiful day!
The blog will be on a little hiatus. I am rambling off to snowier mountains and the blog will return on Wednesday the 20th. See the following links for weather information...
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!