It’s currently 39 degrees and clear. Yesterday’s high was 36 degrees with an overnight low of 26.
US Hwy 441 is currently open.
I walked to sunset, unsure of the outcome. Mist still hovered around camp - the sky above seemed ominous and dark. I wandered up the mountain anyway. My eyes couldn’t believe what began to unfold. The mist thinned and the sun sneaked down from the heavens. Deep purples mixed with plum reds created an awe-inspiring moment atop Mt. Le Conte. Darkness finally reminded me of dinner. I slowly wandered back to camp, lost in thought.
I woke for sunrise. The mountain was much warmer than the day prior. Excited to leave some layers at home, I made for Myrtle Point. The forest dripped around me as I walked. The calm morning mist left everything saturated. I thought about the sun and how it’s rays would soon transform the landscape. I continued to hike…
I continued to think.
To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering. – Aldo Leopold
It’s currently 29 degrees and cloudy. Yesterday’s high was 39 degrees, with an overnight low of 24.
I woke to a familiar fog wrapped around the mountain. Three days of crystal clear weather had come and gone. Unsure of my sunrise prospects, I savored the scene around me. Treading through the eerie mist, I thought about how much I’ve come to enjoy a socked-in mountain. Trees disappeared and reappeared according to the thickness of the wandering clouds. The view changed continuously.
Atop Myrtle Point, I watched the swift clouds rush toward the eastern seaboard. Occasional pockets opened in the clouds, showing the tidal wave formations in the distance. The moments were too brief. The mountain was giving me a preview, but didn’t want me to capture the moment. I understood the sentiment and appreciated what I got to see. The wind began to burn my face…
…I made for home.
Do or do not. There is no try. —Yoda
It’s currently 26 degrees and clear up top. Yesterday’s high was 33 degrees, with an overnight low of 11 degrees.
Cherokee Orchard Road is now open. Hwy 441 is still closed.
I walked outside into the cool evening calm. The temperature had warmed to a comfortable 30 degrees. The smell of roasted asparagus and glazed salmon loitered from the kitchen. I looked back at the orange glow radiating from my winter home. The stars seemed to twinkle their praise at my current disposition. I smiled back, asking each twinkling ball of fire to hold still. I released my camera’s shutter…
…capturing the moment.
“If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind!” - Chuang Tzu
Good morning, 10:00AM
It’s currently 12 degrees and clear. Our 24-hour high was this morning, 11 degrees. The low was – 6 degrees.
Cherokee Orchard Road is open at the park boundary but will remain closed above the Twin Creeks Science Center.
I gazed at the temperature before crawling into bed. It felt particularly cold all the sudden. The display read –5 degrees. I sighed and made for the loft…
I woke unsure – unsure of how cold it was beyond the warm walls of my cabin. The wind had howled all night. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t nearly as cold as the evening prior. Less worried about frost bite, I confidently walked to sunrise. Yesterday’s footprints remained the only sign of human life on Mt. Le Conte.
The sky was crystal clear, allowing the pre-dawn horizon to glow a deep orange. The fiery light was soon burning the tops of the trees. Savoring the scene, I drifted toward the mysterious tunnel that invited me further.
“Let us leave a splendid legacy for our children… let us turn to them and say, this you inherit: guard it well, for it is far more precious than money… and once destroyed, nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.” — Ansel Adams
It’s currently 4 degrees and above the clouds atop Mt. Le Conte. Yesterday’s high was 25 degrees with an overnight low of 4 degrees. We received 1” inch of snow last night.
US Hwy 441/ Newfound Gap Rd from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC is temporarily closed due to snow and ice.
Cherokee Orchard Road with access to the Rainbow Falls Trailhead is also closed due to snow and ice. Follow the link below for updates on road closures.
The world was still dark when I emerged from my den. The glow of Pigeon Forge could be seen through the thick cloud inversion. The mountain was noticeably calm. Mt. Le Conte had settled into a deep quiet. I’ve yet to experience quiet as intense as that of a cold snow-covered landscape. With most of the roads closed due to snow and ice. I was truly alone in this mountain wilderness. I smiled at the thought and made for sunrise.
A dark mass in the distance obscured the sun. Unworried, I watched the incredible cloud activity below. Like a spilled bowl of cream, the clouds filled in the valleys and splashed about. This had to be one of the truest representations of the Smoky Mountain's namesake. Impressed, I continued trudging down the silent mountain.
“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”
-Henry David Thoreau
Good morning, 10:15AM
It’s currently 20 degrees and clear, with light winds. Yesterday’s high was 24 degrees, with an overnight low of 14. We still have trace amounts of snow on the ground.
The trails up top are exceptionally icy. I would not attempt a hike up unless you have proper ice traction.
I made it to sunrise just in time. The rising sun was shielded by an eager cloud, giving the mountains a moody volcanic theme. An eruption of color soon burst across the sky. I was happy. After a couple days of me and the mountain being under the weather, I was happy to be reintroduced to a Mt. Le Conte sunrise.
I delayed my return to the lodge. Wandering around the mountain, the trail displayed the characteristics of an ice skating rink. A thick layer of ice coated the rocky trail. Moving through this landscape was deceptively beautiful. One misstep and I would be looking at the top of the trees. Remaining mindful, I made my way back toward the lodge…
…treading lightly as I went.
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” - John Muir
Good morning, 8:45AM
It’s currently 14 degrees and cloudy. Yesterday’s high was 20 degrees, with an overnight low of 6 degrees.
It appears that Hwy 441 is still closed due to ice and snow. Stay up to date here: https://goo.gl/HikrMr
I woke feeling heavy - extremely heavy. Someone must have tied an anchor to me in my sleep. The walk to the kitchen left me exhausted. I hobbled back to my loft and remained horizontal for the remainder of the day. The culprit was surely a combination of things. From long wet efforts in the mountains to visitors from different landscapes - I needed a rest.
I woke feeling a far-cry better than the morning prior. Rested, I brewed a cup of green tea and looked through the photos I’d captured. The sunset from a day ago was still fresh on my mind. I settled on a couple photos that gave me that feeling of wonder, again. Reliving the moment, I was thankful for such beauty – even when I was down and out.
“When every inch of the world is known, sleep may be the only wilderness that we have left.” – Louise Erdrich
Good morning, 9:20AM
It’s currently 8 degrees and windy up top. Yesterday’s high was 42 degrees with an overnight low of 4 degrees. We received 1.2” inches of rain, with trace amounts of snow.
US Highway 441 and Cherokee Orchard rd. are currently closed due to snow and ice.
Keep up to date on road closures here:
I slowly descended from the toasty loft. Something creaked below me. Was it the floorboards or my aching legs that made the noise? Feeling humbled from yesterday’s off-trail adventures, I continued my morning routine. Delaying the inevitable, I eventually left the warmth of my cabin to wander the now frozen landscape – creaking as I went.
Overnight, the sodden mountain had frozen. The winds continued to howl, as they had for days now. Looking around – I felt like I was in a snow globe. Snowflakes whirled around me in all directions. The air bit at my face. Smiling I thought about how fast things change on Mt. Le Conte. My thoughts continued to wander…
…the thoughts settled on my favorite Cape Cod cookies and fresh Oatmeal bread.
“Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.” – Sir Ernest Shackleton
Good afternoon, 12:00PM
It’s currently 42 degrees up top. Yesterday’s high was 44 degrees, with an overnight low of 36. We received 2.25” inches of rain.
I woke to a deluge of rain. The wind had paused periodically to catch its breath. I thought back to last night’s hike along the Alum Cave Trail. The ice was nearly gone; the trail was a river. Waterfalls catapulted off the mountain, covering the path below. Smiling, I let the memories take the back burner. Dressed and ready, I walked out into the solemn mountain scene.
The mountain was spooky; haunting all who passed through. Moisture laden apparitions floated through the trees, soaking everything. The moss seemed to glow from the understory. Even in these challenging conditions – Mt. Le Conte was a source of beauty. My observations were short lived. The mountain was catching its second wind…
…the wind began to howl.
P.S. – Shout out to Kalli. I hope you have a wonderful day! See you up the trail.
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” – Ernest Hemingway
Good morning, 9:30AM
It’s currently 43 degrees – cloudy, wet and windy. Our high for yesterday was 43 degrees, with an overnight low of 36.
The warm glow of the kitchen created a stark contrast with the world outside. Good coffee and flavorful spices would greet me when I returned from my morning rounds. I admired the scene, put on my jacket, and trudged out of the kitchen.
Walking up the mountain, I pondered the strength of mother nature. The wind howled – like it had done for the last 12 hours. Even the mature trees wagged back and forth in the wind’s fury. There was a unique beauty in the wild wind. I appreciated the scene and wondered what the world might look like just above this grey windstorm. Entertaining the thought, I made for the lodge…
…the thought of coffee encroached on my mind.
“Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau
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!