Good Afternoon Everyone,
Nobody on the mountain managed to get swept away in yesterday's howling winds! The rain didn't roll through until after dark but kept steady up until sunrise. At the time of observation we had received 1 inch. Yesterday's high temperature topped out at 50 degrees, followed by a low of 39. It seemed like the sun was going to break through this morning, but the clouds have stiffened their defenses and the temperature is hovering just above freezing for now. Be sure and pack those shells and layers if you intend to summit the mountain.
This is one of those days where a crew member spends their afternoon off indoors, snuggling up with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. A nap sounds appealing as well. But then there are those who churn like the Energizer Bunny, and want to explore the mountain in its cloak of cloudy mystery. Rumor has it there is sunny goodness around us, but for now we'll just have to enjoy our socked in solitude. Have a great weekend!
Yesterday's high topped out at 59 degrees, and our overnight low was a moderate 41. Up until sunrise, the skies were clear, but they have quickly clouded over and we can no longer see the twinkling lights of civilization below. Winds are steadily picking up as well.
There is a High Wind Advisory in effect this afternoon through tomorrow morning, along with a threat of severe thunderstorms expected to roll through the region late tonight. It's calling for wind gusts upwards of 55 mph. Please pay close attention to the forecast if you choose to ascend the mountain before the weekend, and also check in with the NPS website regarding potential road and trail closures. With these high winds, dead hemlocks and trees affected by the fires of last autumn are the biggest threat.
We have moved up our Llama trip scheduled for Friday to today on account of the incoming weather. If Trillium Gap comes through unscathed, their next ascent will be Sunday.
If you plan on visiting the mountain today, be sure and get an early start and let family/friends know of your plans. Have a great day.
When I saw the stars through the skylight before waking to prep breakfast, there was a pretty strong sense that today was going to be a gorgeous day. This has been the first day we've had nothing but uninterrupted sun from start to finish this season. Encouraging staff to get outside and play in between shifts becomes a priority on a day like this. The thermometer is trying to tag 60 degrees currently, and it feels fabulous. It seems like yesterday there was still snow on the ground. That's March in these mountains.
Tuesday's high temp was 46 degrees, and there wasn't much variance as the low only hit 38. It's sunny days like this where the lodge solar panels are their happiest. After several days of clouds, the crew can get eager to recharge some of their personal electronic devices, so they're happy too! Looks like more rain chances are on the horizon.
Crew members have been cruising through camp cleanup every day, and then pouncing on any opportunity to explore the mountain. Today has been no exception, with folks scrambling out to vistas or running down and back one of the peak's several trails. Yours truly opted for a quick jaunt out The Boulevard with a necessary side trip to Myrtle Point. The views today did not disappoint.
When you can look to the east and see the towering Black Mountains crest, you're enjoying some of the best visibility of the year. With such comfortable temps at high elevation, and the highest mountains beckoning in the distance, you wish you could sprout some wings and go touch them all. Mt. Pisgah, Cold Mountain, Plott Balsam, and Whiteside Mountain all looked a little closer from Myrtle Point today, and their allure was ever stronger. Maybe we'll pay them a visit on some future days off.
Wherever you are today, enjoy it to the max!
Good Afternoon Readers,
We were excited to be looking out over and under the clouds this morning, but it didn't take long for the hovering gray and white puffs to drop in for an extended stay. We were rocked by a couple of thunderstorms last night, which dumped 0.85" of rain on the mountain, intermixed with strong wind gusts and lightning. Yesterday afternoon's high temperature was 52 degrees, and our low was 39. The forecast continues to look mild with several chances of precipitation in the coming days. Guess it must be spring in the Smokies!
Our second team of veteran Llamas made the ascent today with a load of crew groceries. Always a joy to see those boys make it to the top with the goods! We're still a ways off from welcoming the greenery that has been coming in down below, but we're definitely seeing an increase in wildlife. Not only are there more people roaming the paths between cabins these days, but Robins and Juncos are increasingly zipping about.
If you're exploring the woods anytime soon, enjoy what springtime has to offer in these parts. Have a great day!
What started as a day full of sunny promise, has now turned into clouds and the occasional mist. Yesterday's high was 45 with a low of 38, and after observation we tallied an additional 0.2" of rain. We'll see how tonight shakes out.
Those of you who have visited the mountain in the last few days since we completed our annual airlift resupply have certainly noticed the quick rehabilitation work done on the Dining Hall steps. The final result is nothing short of a masterpiece, and it certainly has the look of longevity. Major kudos to Brian and Eric on tackling this project for the lodge. Even lodge Assistant Manager Ryn got in on the rock smashing efforts. When the rocks were flown in, with some numbers from the helicopter pilot, we were able to determine the weight of each individual block you see below. Each one comes out to about 435 pounds. Guests can once again enter the Dining Hall from the main doors and admire the work done by these trail work gurus.
Special thanks go out to the Stabler family and friends for the delicious Apple Pies. Everyone enjoy the start of a new week and have a prosperous conclusion to the month of March.
Tis a dreary day on the mountain, shrouded in clouds with the occasional light mist pestering crew members as they scurry around camp toting linens and brooms. We had 0.65" of rain at measurement this morning, accompanied by a high yesterday of 50 degrees and an overnight low of 38. We expect similar temps today, although with fewer views from camp.
Today marks our first Llama trip of the season. Coming out of their winter break, they'll need to shake off the cobwebs and rediscover their hiking hooves. We always fly in enough supplies that the first few loads for each team is light enough for them to get comfortable with Trillium Gap again. The returning starters catch on real quick, but we'll have several new faces to get trained up this spring. We appreciate everything these critters do for us, and we are especially grateful for the work and care done by our wranglers - Alan, Chrissy, and Bonnie. If you are fortunate enough to see these hard workers on the trail, be sure and say "Hi," but please make sure you pay attention to any advice offered by the wranglers. Sometimes the trail gets narrow, and its important you are kept safe while the llama train passes by.
We currently have enough Llamas in rotation to feature a different one every week of the lodge season. We'll start with some of the experienced veterans, some of which you may already know, and eventually highlight our younger but equally interesting packers.
For this season's first featured Llama, we are proud to introduce...Kramer (aka "Little Deer"). Kramer is a well balanced combination of cuteness and consistency. He's had experience in various spots in the train, from lead to anywhere in between. His narrow and dainty frame compared to the rest of the herd gives him the appearance of a deer, but he can pack weight all the same. When Kramer first came to work for the lodge, the Householders referred to him more as a wild deer, but with their commitment through training, they've developed Kramer into a fine LeConte Llama. So here's a salute to our favorite "Little Deer!"
In other exciting news, former crew members Brad ('13-'15) and Nicholette ('14-'15) officially tied the knot yesterday. Join us in wishing them the best in their journey forward together!
Have a great rest of the day.
Good Morning All,
It was a great start to the season yesterday, as the mountain is once again alive with happy hikers and gratified guests. Weather wise, we spent much of the day in and out of the clouds, with the occasional view down into the valley below. Our high turned out to be 48 degrees, with last night's low being 33. It is currently cloudy up top.
Today is our first full day of business, as we'll crank out the first pancakes, eggs, biscuits, grits, bacon, and tang of the season for last night's guests. After cleaning up camp, we'll do it all over again, now through the next 8 months.
As some of you may have noticed, we've slowly been making updates to the blog over the last few weeks. Expect that to continue as we progress through the season in an attempt to make this website more informative and entertaining.
Those of you who follow us on Facebook have probably also noticed our increased presence there. As time and internet connections allow (which can be frustrating at times on a mountain), we will make every attempt to get word out to our followers...some way, some how. You can still find cabin vacancy updates on our Twitter account. Between this blog, our Facebook page, and Twitter feed, you can always count on one of those avenues being utilized on a daily basis. Sometimes you might be lucky enough to see something different on all three in one day!
As always, if you have any specific questions about the lodge not addressed through our social media outlets, please reach out to our wonderful office staff Monday - Friday from 9 - 5. Thanks and have a great day!
Greetings Admirers of LeConte,
We are ready. Today is Opening Day of the 2017 season at LeConte Lodge. If you've been waiting to enjoy the splendors of the mountain, let this be the year you wait no more. If you are excited about staying with us for the first time or the 50th time, we are equally excited about hosting you, your family, and friends. Mt. LeConte is special to all of us, guests and crew, and for numerous reasons. Let's admire the majesty of the mountain together, and make some lasting memories every day, now through Thanksgiving!
Our high temperature yesterday was 48 degrees, a great day for tending to chores outside. Our overnight low was 32. Conditions have been alternating between clear views to the north and clouds cloaking cabins. Starting today and every day, visitors can purchase items from our souvenir shop and kitchen between the hours of 12:00 & 5:00 PM. Meals for overnight guests are served hot at 6:00 PM, with breakfast hitting the tables at 8:00 AM the following morning. Be sure and check out our Online Store as well for any LeConte Lodge goods that don't require ascending the mountain.
We are delighted to unveil this season's 2017 "I Hiked It" T-Shirt design. Part of the allure of Mt. LeConte, as well as the GSMNP, are the various critters that call this place home. This year's design, courtesy of our own Lisa Line, pays homage to our friends in nature and their unique tracks, several of which you will see on your way to and from the lodge. Enjoy and wear this year's shirt with pride, since you earned it by climbing one of Tennessee's finest peaks.
A few things to note as we start the season. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, the one-way road that provides access to the Grotto Falls trailhead of Trillium Gap, will not open to the public until April 7th. Visit https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/seasonalroads.htm for more details. Your available options for the time being are newly renovated Alum Cave, The Boulevard, Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap from Cherokee Orchard, and Brushy Mountain out of Greenbrier. Bull Head remains closed indefinitely as a result of last fall's firestorm.
In regards to our lovable Llamas, their schedule for the next two weeks will be Sunday/Tuesday/Friday. This schedule is subject to change for various reasons, in which case we will keep you posted. The best opportunity to see the llamas is at the lodge after they've arrived around lunch time. They are typically here no more than 2 hours. If you have the fortune of seeing them on the trail, please respect their space and heed the advice of the wranglers, as their mission is getting the Llamas with supplies to and from the mountain safely in a timely manner, while also keeping hikers safe and informed.
Thank you and have a great weekend!
AIRLIFT OPERATIONS ARE COMPLETE!!! We had a solid day of flying Wednesday and successfully finished the 2017 spring airlift. On behalf of the crew, I want to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to our volunteer staff both at the lodge and the Luftee staging area for their hard work and dedication these last two weeks. It takes a great deal of strength, flexibility, and patience on behalf of the staff to be able to coordinate and fly in all of the supplies necessary to open. Again, thank you!
Yesterday's high was 37, though it felt warmer in the sun as the winds were relatively calm except when standing under the helicopter wash. Our overnight low was 26 with no new precipitation. Conditions are partly cloudy with great sight distance to the north from our porches. All of the snow and ice around camp has melted away. It's possible some small, isolated patches of ice remain in the shadiest reaches of the trails ascending the mountain, but conditions should be favorable from start to finish. Trail crews are expected to assess Alum Cave (for hikers) and Trillium Gap (for llamas) today and have those trails completely cleared of debris and blowdowns. If you're on the trail today, be sure and tell them thanks!
LeConte Lodge will open for the 2017 season tomorrow, March 24th. The crew is very excited about entertaining guests once again, and are taking great pride in readying all of the guest cabins, souvenir shop, and dining hall. We will unveil the 2017 "I Hiked It" shirt design tomorrow for those of you anxious to see it. We'll also get our fantastic crew's photos up soon so you can start to familiarize yourselves with the great team we've assembled this year, should you meet them in person when you visit.
Enjoy the day and happy trails!
After Monday's weather decided to throw a wrench into our airlift plans, Tuesday was our redeemer as we were able to get in several hours of flying. We still have about a half day's worth remaining to complete this spring's airlift, so our postings regarding lodge ground closures will remain up a little while longer as we dodge the clouds. There was a great deal of running up, down, and all around the mountain yesterday, so thank you for your patience in waiting for today's blog entry!
We began yesterday in the clouds, but shortly after lunch the skies cleared and the temps quickly warmed up. We peaked out at 58 degrees, quite a change from a week ago, and our overnight low was 28. The storms that passed through the region last night certainly put on an impressive electric light show. That's the thing about thunderstorms while living on a mountain...you either have the comfort of watching them pass by on the horizon, or you're in an unnerving situation sitting in the middle of it. We woke up to clouds this morning, but the sun is trying to regain the upper hand. Let's hope it does!
In between flying, the crew continues to organize all of the goods that we've received, and we're preparing the lodge to host our anxious guests once again. Thank you for understanding the need to delay our opening. We're excited about closing the chapter on 2017 pre-season preparations soon and welcoming visitors back to the mountain! Take care and have a great day.
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!