It's a blustery, cloudy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 42 degrees. The overnight low was 37 degrees. It was 37 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .04" inches of rain and there is no snow up top. There is no ice remaining on the trails. It's sure to be a soggy, quiet day - get out and enjoy it!
I had a great day of relaxation and recovery hanging around the cabin yesterday. Grace and I did some reading, ate some delicious cast iron meals and enjoyed the sound of the world swirling to the wind rhythms yesterday evening. It was the kind of day that makes the mountain feel like an early retirement.
But more than anything, that hour on the roads is for ideas and principles, for meditation and contemplation. We runners think in congruities and incongruities. We do not remember through organization but by relationships, and we have to wait for these to glide by. We cannot force our brain to our bidding. Running is the key to this lock. Somehow in the relaxation, the letting go, we arrive at a state that Heraclitus described as "listening to the essence of things." We open ourselves up to the world. George Sheehan
It's a beautiful, calm morning up top. The high yesterday reached 45 degrees. The overnight low was a balmy 38 degrees. It was 38 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .3" of rain yesterday. The trails are a little soggy, but there is no ice remaining up top. It's a beautiful day, get out and enjoy it!
Even though I was off the mountain, I couldn't help myself and went for a long run in the Park on Friday. The weather was bizzarely warm for January, but classically Smokies in every other facet. I left Newfound Gap at 10:30 when it was 51 (!!!) degrees and in a dense fog. It never truly rained on me, but I was soaked within a mile or so. My glasses were fogging up constantly, but with this limited visibility there were very few other folks on trail. I saw less than ten people over the course of six and a half hours. Whoever says the AT is too crowded only hikes in July, the sense of serenity was palpable. I hadn't been out on this section of trail in quite some time and there was some impressive new trail work - way to go Pretzel & the rest of the SWEAT crew! Occasionally a viewshed would open up for a bit and I'd get a peek at the seemingly endless hills surrounding me, but the biggest takeaway from my long run was the sense of stillness on these trails. On the busiest trail in the world, in the National Park with more visitors than any other (11.3 million last year!) - I was still surprised every time I saw someone. That stately calm trickles down from the trees and passes through my head via some strange osmosis and it makes everything richer. My shower and meal in town may as well have been the best of my life. Happiness isn't nearly as fickle a thing when you're exhausted.
It's another warm, blustery morning up top. The high yesterday reached 41 degrees. The overnight low was 37 degrees. It was 40 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .14" of rain yesterday and there is no more snow remaining up top. The trails are sure to be soggy, so be prepared for moisture! Get out and enjoy this beautiful day!
I will be off the mountain for the holiday weekend. The blog will return on Monday!
We complain incessantly about the "fast pace of modern life," and say that we have "no time". But of course most of us have lots of time, or else every study wouldn't show that we watch three or four or five hours of television a day. It's that time the way it really works has come to bore us. Or at least make us nervous, the way that silence does, and so we need to shut it out. We fill time, instead of letting it fill us. Bill McKibben
It's a cloudy, rainy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 38 degrees. The overnight low was 20 degrees. It was 38 degrees and raining lightly at 7am observation. The mountain received .21 inches of rain last night, leaving only patchy snow remaining up top. The trails are sure to be slick today, so be prepared for wet conditions. Get out and enjoy this quiet day!
I was feeling a bit under the weather the past few days and decided to try to run the congestion out of my system. I went really slowly and carefully, picking my way across the snow in delicate footsteps. I was worried about hitting a patch of black ice, but mostly the anxiety dissipated in the endorphins. It felt good to reclaim my body again and be out in the world. I made it out to Myrtle and admired some lone fox tracks who made it out there before me. I went to Cliff Tops, admired the wind, then butt slid down the steeper path to the lodge. It was only about 2 miles, but it did wonders for my mind. This is the time of the year where I am forced to slow down, to enjoy the sights and breathe deep in the wilderness instead of trying to use the mountains as a test of fitness. While the adaptation requires patience at times, it is good for the mind. It brings a different kind of calm.
It's a cloudy, snowy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 29 degrees. The overnight low was 11 degrees, recorded shortly after observation yesterday. It was 28 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is about 2 inches of snow remaining. The snow has been packed out a bit and is still quite slick. I would recommend carrying Microspikes if you intend to reach the summit. It's an eerie, quiet day up top - get out and enjoy it!
Grace and I went out for our evening sunset stroll and saw a few surprising things. First off, there were other human tracks on the mountain! 441 and Cherokee Orchard road yesterday morning and we met two folks spending the night in the shelter. Even more surprising, as we wandered out there, Grace noticed a bear track! I have seen bear tracks up here in the snow, but was surprised to see the big fella getting out after how cold the past few days have been. The track came sometime yesterday (it was rather warm up here during the day) - we did not notice the track the previous two nights on our evening rounds. Even odder, on the way back to our cabin we saw some tracks - a bit too big for fox and bobcat, but the snow was rather powdery so it was hard to get the texture and shape of the print. Finally, we reached a windswept area where we could make out a cloven hoof! I have never seen a deer or deer track up here in the snow, but if there is a year for the unusual, this is it...
The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread. John Burroughs
It's another beautiful, snowy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 13 degrees. The overnight low was -7 degrees, recorded yesterday morning. It was 11 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still 2 inches of snow remaining up top. The trails are sure to be a bit slick, I would advise Microspikes if you intend to hike in the backcountry today. While the snow has decent traction, there are definitely patches of black ice in beneath the snow in sections that will ruin your day... The forecast is warmer temps, get out and enjoy the day!
Grace and I had a lovely weekend with the Park to ourselves. It was bitter cold, but we still went out for our evening sunset rambles and enjoyed the quietude that closed, snowy roads leaves us with up top. It is pretty remarkable to be in the busiest National Park in the country, yet see only our (& the occasional squirrel and bobcat) tracks for an entire weekend. The colours at sunset were really good for seeing the mountain texture, with blue greys highlighting all the nooks and crannies. I think Chimney's looks pretty wild with all the snow on top!
It's another beautiful, snowy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 4 degrees. The overnight low was -7 degrees. It was -7 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still about 3 inches of snow on the ground. The trails still have black ice beneath the snow, so I would recommend traction if you intend to reach the summit. As of this posting, both 441 and Cherokee Orchard road are still closed. Be prepared for bitter cold if you get out there today! Enjoy this snowy, isolated day!
It's a beautiful, snowy morning up top! The high yesterday reached 21 degrees. The overnight low was 2 degrees. It was 2 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received 3 inches of new snow overnight and there is 3 inches of total snow on the ground. There is sure to be some black ice lurking beneath the fresh powder, so please be sure to wear traction if you intend to reach the summit. It is still bitter cold out and is supposed to remain so all day. Please be prepared for the conditions. Get out and enjoy the snowy bliss!
I had a memorable hike up Rainbow yesterday morning. I took a valley night (thanks for watching the lodge Peanut!) to go to my friend James' Trail Running Film Festival in Knoxville and had a lovely morning for hiking back up. After another great breakfast at Crockett's Breakfast Camp, Grace and I got to Cherokee Orchard road around 10:30. The trail was in surprisingly difficult shape - there was a very thin layer of black ice on almost every rock, so unless you were standing on soil, you would lose your footing every so often. The light was phenomenal - a bright fog that allowed you to be in your own little world about 50 feet at a time. I saw a stag rather early, he watched me for about 10 seconds then bolted into the ether with pure style and grace. You couldn't see the Falls from the trail, which was fine, I was in a mood eager to move and get settled up top before the winter weather came in. The upper sections between the Falls and Rocky Spur were a mixture of fire damage and hoar frost, creating an eerieness that made my spine tingle. By the time I reached Rocky Spur and the home stretch, things were clearing a bit. It was 18 degrees when I made it into the kitchen. I got some hot water going and sat back and waited for the show.
Many Great Smokies visitors think of these mountains mainly in connection with the flowering shrubs and the gay autumn colors. But the fairyland touches added by hoar-frost often excel any special summertime beauty. Flowering shrubs - rhododendron, mountain laurel, and flame azalea - are special attractions, as are the riotous colors of autumn and the dazzling hoar-frosts of winter. But these added attractions have the same relation to the mountains that carefully selected jewels have to a beautiful girl. The jewels serve only to accentuate the greater beauty of the girl. Likewise, the special attractions of the Great Smokies merely emphasize the deeper beauty of the mountains themselves. The real beauty is in the girl and in the mountains - not in the ornaments they wear. Horace M. Albright
It's another cold, grey day up top. The high yesterday reached 27 degrees. The overnight low was 14 degrees. It was 23 degrees and clear at 7am observation. There was no new precipitation recorded yesterday and there is no snow on the ground. There is plenty of black ice on the trails, so be sure to take caution as you reach the higher elevations. The forecast is grey and chilly today, with the potential for (trying not to get too excited) significant snowfall tomorrow. Get out and enjoy this wintry day!
It's a frosty, grey day up top. The high yesterday reached 46 degrees. The overnight low was 26 degrees. It was 26 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .28" of rain overnight and a light trace of snow. There is a bit of ice up top. I would bet that the trails will be slick today, so take caution if you intend to reach the summit. The wind is whipping up top, be prepared for cold temps if you stop for a short break at the lodge! Get out and enjoy this wintry day!
I had a calm day around the lodge for most of yesterday. It was yet another uninspiring day on the surface - grey, with plenty of wind and all sorts of mixed precipitation. It felt like an easy day to make excuses and stay inside, but I never feel better off doing that. It always catches up with me. Once I got moving, the trails were as lovely as ever. I only saw one other hiker on the Boulevard and felt as if I had the entire Smokies to myself. I almost let laziness win out and limit myself to what can be discovered within walls. I am glad I am stubborn.
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!