We had a great day up top yesterday. The high was 51º with a low of 43º. It is already shaping up to be a repeat of yesterday. Chris and I have signed up for another half marathon in November. I think this might be the day to get back on track and start training. I know it is kind of early to worry about a race in November, but my muscles have been in hiking mode and I need to change gears. Having something to work towards is so important on the mountain. I need to set goals for myself. I guess in a lot of ways it is similar to you folks setting a goal of reaching the top of the mountain. I suppose I take it for granted since I live up here and the hike is my commute to work. When I went home for my fathers 80th birthday, he told me joined a gym. His goal is to loose enough weight and get back in shape so he can hike up here again. The last time he was up was 11 years ago. Now, THAT is a goal. I hope I am setting goals like that at 80. So, if you think you can not make up it here because you "think" you are too old, keep my father in mind and follow his lead. Anything is possible.
It did my soul some good to see the valley below and the sun peaking up over High Top. After two days of heavy rain, the crew was doing their sunshine dance. The mountain received 1.5" of rain yesterday alone. The high was 41º with a low of 34º. We are ready to put on our shorts and sandals and soak up some more vitamin D. The grass is getting greener on the mountain and there are buds on the trees. Spring is just around the corner for our favorite mountain top. I am ready.
There is no way around the rain today. It is a dreary day on the mountain. I don't think these rocking chairs are going to get much use. If you are hiking up in this, please make sure you bring plenty of dry clothing to change into. You will get wet today. The high yesterday was 39º with a low of 34º. As you can tell by the temperature, it is very important to have some dry, warm clothing to put on when you get to the top. Please be safe out there if you are getting out in this
Another rainy day on the mountain. You know what the means? Tells from Africa. I apologize for the quality of the photograph above. I was cold and I guess shivering does not make for focused photographs. I will add that I took this photo and then put on my warm layers. I didn't want anyone to think I don't practice what I preach. This photograph was taken on our third day of hiking on Mt. Kilimanjaro. I was beginning to wonder if we had left the mountain and been teleported to the moon. The lava rocks, or boulders, made for an interested landscape. That was one of the unique experiences of this trip. Each day brought a different landscape. I will say the experience made me think of Alum Cave trail. People often ask me which trail to the lodge is my favorite. I will say Alum. I love how you have such distinct differences from strolling by the river for a while to traversing through a rock and finishing your hike looking out over the edge of a cliff. The views make for an interesting hike. One hike I will never grow tired of.
As I said earlier, it is socked in and rainy. The high yesterday was 52º with a low of 32º. Today is a good day to sit by the fire in the office and read a good book while drinking some of our famous hot cocoa. For those of you who wander out today, make sure you have good rain gear. You are going to get wet. But, as I have said before, rainy days can make for some of the best hiking. It is a different experience.
"It doesn't matter how many times a mountain or rock face has been climbed, for each person it's a new experience: an experience in which the outcome is never guaranteed." - S. Allison
Yesterday was a great day for climbing the mountain. The views were far and wide. Chris and I made our way out to Myrtle Point to soak up some rays. The high yesterday was 44º so it was a bit chilly, but sitting out on the rocks at Myrtle made for a perfect day. The sun felt great and recharged my internal battery. The low last night reached 26º. Winter is still hanging on. Remember, if you are spending the night in the shelter, make sure you have warm equipment. A blanket is not going to do the job. We had a hiker make the right decision yesterday when he realized how cold it was going to get. He turned around and hiked off the mountain. I give him a round of applause for listening to what we were telling him and realizing his gear would not make for a safe night in the shelter.
Today is starting out the same. Beautiful blue skies and a chill in the air. It is currently 34º but the sun is shining and I am sure it will warm up quickly.
Brrr, it is cold up here this morning. The low last night was 29º. I thought we were well on our way to spring. Once again, the mountain has its own agenda. The high yesterday was 56º. We did get a little rain yesterday. It lasted for a couple of hours. Today is starting out sunny and clear.
The sun was slowly creeping its way over the mountain top this morning. It is starting out to be a beautiful day. I am not sure how long that is going to last. There are forecasts for rain for the next couple of days. I receive questions about the weather on a daily bases. People wanting to know about hiking up in the storms. If there is one thing Chris and I have learned over the last 11 years, it is to be prepared for anything. We always have our rain jackets with us. The weather in the mountains does not like to abide by the forecasters. I have learned to take what I get. I don't let rain stop me from enjoying a good hike in the woods. If anything, I have grown to appreciate what the forest has to offer on rainy days. There is a certain twinkle in the trees and reflections in the puddles that you don't get on sunny days. With this being said, throw your poncho in your pack and get out there. As my mother used to tell me, "you won't melt".
It is still chilly during the evenings. The low last night was 34 with a high of 56. You will want to bring layers with you to throw on while watching the famous sunsets we see from the mountain. I hope everyone has a good day and happy hiking.
Afternoon to you all. You'd surely love the weather on top of LeConte today--just about perfect. Our high Monday was 47 with a low of 29, the mildest morning since Friday. Just after lunch today, we're looking at 50 degrees and plenty of sunshine. We've been fortunate enough to have so many sunny, clear days lately that I've not had to use a drop of gasoline to pump water up to our tanks--our solar pump has been humming along and up to the task.
The forecast calls for a pretty wet Wednesday, followed by better weather on Thursday. Please make sure you bring some rain gear any time you come to see us.
The remainder of today's update is kind of a gumbo of events from the mountain the last few days. I mentioned that toward the end of last week the wind whipped wildly up here. It blew down a partially rotten tree about 18 inches in diameter across Trillium Gap Trail not too far from the lodge. The llamas had to climb the bank to get around it. Llama wrangler Alan and I went down on his descent with the llamas to move it off the trail. I think it's interesting that one of our veteran llamas is notorious for jumping a five-foot fence early in the morning to escape having to work. However, that same llama wouldn't consider jumping an 18-inch tree in the trail. Priorities, I guess.
During all the wind I noticed the juncos ably carving their way through the turbulence, earning their wings as esteemed fighter pilots in the LeConte air force.
We noticed red streamers of brake lights piled up during the weekend on the Pigeon Forge strip. Turns out there was a "Rod Run" for car enthusiasts down there. However, from our perch atop LeConte, we didn't see any of the hot rods (or anyone else on the road) moving very fast.
Last night about 11 p.m. as I was doing my final checks for the night, my headlamp caught two glowing orange eyes about 10 feet away from me, just behind the steps to Old Lodge (or No. 1, as it says on the door if you've stayed there). It seems that the deer, some of our favorite neighbors, have returned to the top of LeConte in anticipation of spring greens. I did see one wandering around in the snow earlier this season, but there wasn't much for that deer to eat and it must have headed down below. That deer looking for good browse in the snow seemed like a vegetarian trying to get a suitable meal at a Brazilian steakhouse.
Finally, to wrap up, we were glad to see Pat and Jeanie Lawley, frequent readers of High on LeConte. They hiked up to visit and gave us a promising flower report on the lower elevations in the park--from Cades Cove to the lower stretches of the Alum Cave Trail. The color will be working its way up the mountain soon, all the better reason to journey to LeConte.
Thanks for reading. Allyson and Chris are scheduled to be back on the mountain this evening, so I'll turn over daily reports to her. Have a fine day. Happy trails.
Hello, this is Nathan from atop LeConte. It's good to be able to say hello to you all again from LeConte Lodge. We've had some technical challenges the last few days with our internet connection. You can thank general manager Tim Line for his detective work and the daily return of High on LeConte.
We pride ourselves on ingenuity up on LeConte. In the past, I've seen us pull 200 pounds of flour, sugar and concrete in the rescue litter sled dog-style from the helicopter blowdown over two feet of snow to the lodge. We generally find a way to make things work up here. However, there's no way I could figure to conjure an internet connection out of thin air.
I'll update the weekend's weather and some other events. Thursday night and Friday were not exactly chamber of commerce weather days. Thursday night the winds picked up and blew prodigiously. Friday's high was 50 with a low of 47. We picked up 1.45 inches of rain before the front rolled past. Saturday's low bottomed out at a frigid 17 degrees. However, the colder weather issued forth beautiful skies--a condition we're still enjoying. Sunday's high and low registered 43 and 17. Currently, it's been a nice morning on the mountain with a temperature in the mid 40s, the warmest we've seen since the rain turned the trails to rivers to begin our weekend.
I've heard of small amounts of ice on the trail, but nothing that really hindered any hikers. I will pass along a bit of advice for approaching Alum Cave Bluff following rain and cold weather. Anytime you hike Alum Cave Bluff Trail in chilly weather it's wise to look up well before you're under the bluff overhang and scope out the presence of any crashing icicles. The splintered shards of ice will ruin your day. Don't become a reverse unicorn.
Llama wrangler Chrissy reported that she saw a mother bear and two cubs near Grotto Falls on the Trillium Gap Trail today. The llamas didn't have any difficulty with the bears, but their ears perked up quite a bit. Our llamas know where they live on the food chain. We haven't seen any bears in camp yet, but they'll be working their way up the mountain in due time.
Sorry again for not being able to provide daily updates this weekend. We'll hope our technical issues remain solved. Have a fine Monday. Happy trails.
Good Afternoon. Nathan has been trying all afternoon to log in to post, but apparently the weather is causing a problem with getting connected, so he asked that the office post. The high was 55, low 47. It started raining about 7:00 this morning. It is very windy so watch for fallen trees if you will be hiking tomorrow. Temps are dropping today so it will be a cold start hiking in the morning.
Those hiking tomorrow on Grotto Falls/Trillium Gap trail will be getting a (hopefully) pleasant surprise as the llamas will be packing. They are off schedule this week due to a few llamas eating some purple mint which is toxic to them and other animals. It has a short growing span and with the mild winter is more abundant than normal. Chrissy and Alan learned something new this week about llamas and what they shouldn't eat. The llamas are all fine now and should be back on schedule Monday.
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!