Good Afternoon All,
Today has been very similar to yesterday's happenings. Clouds rolled in again last night, winds picked up, and then the sun came out by the afternoon to brighten the mood. It's not as warm today, the winds aren't dying down this time, and it sounds like our next set of storms is on the way. Shortly after posting yesterday, our official thermometer tapped 70.0 degrees for the first time this year. We hit 51 degrees over night and are yet to hit 60 today. There is also a fair amount of day hiker traffic, so its good to see folks taking advantage of the weather to enjoy the outdoors before the work week resumes.
Here's an interesting weather related tidbit for you. Everyone should be quite familiar with the extreme drought we endured last year. For 2016, Mt. LeConte recorded 52.5" of rainfall, well short of the average amount the Smoky Mountains receive annually, which is around 85". Over the last 4 months, we have recorded 26" of rain, already half of last year. We'll see what comes tonight. It feels like we've had a good balance of sun and rain this year, and we can only hope that trend continues.
Unsure of what the approaching storm may do to the trail tonight and tomorrow, our wranglers opted to bring one of our teams up today. A great decision on their part to make the haul much more enjoyable for man, woman, and llama. It was great to welcome Maximus Cluck and Rainbow Reuben to the mountain top after several weeks of training. (Don't worry, their unique bios are coming later!) Alan has been bringing the packing teams to the lodge while Chrissy and Bonnie have been diligent and patient in getting our newest team members comfortable with each extended climb. We are excited about seeing Hershey and Bear (no, not THAT bear) the next trip.
Since we're on the topic of llamas, and it's the end of another week, it's time to feature another one of our outstanding load luggers...PETE! (aka Petey, Sweet Pete). Pete is as nice as they come, having been befriended by so many of our visitors over the years because of his calm and friendly demeanor. He's also one of our most consistent workers, even for being slightly smaller in stature than his buddies. As Alan says, Pete has a clean record when it comes to having no drama thus far in his LeConte career. He also has a tendency to be a favorite of the ladies, maybe because of his feminine-like eyelashes and soft face. He's logged a lot of miles on this mountain, and we appreciate all that he does for the operation. Let's hear it for Pete!
Have a great rest of the day and conclusion to the month. Happy trails!
Today has been the warmest day of the year so far on the mountain. We're threatening to eclipse 70 degrees for the first time, but have yet to do so. Our high yesterday reached 67, with a low of 43 coming in the morning. We were clouded in over night and into this morning, with a strong surge of wind over a 12 hour period. By lunchtime, the skies finally cleared over the mountain and the sun has kept us pleasantly warm.
As anticipated, we've enjoyed hosting a large influx of day hikers today. Tomorrow promises to be another fabulous day to be outdoors, so if you're able to hike up we look forward to welcoming you. With these temps, the going drink may lean in the favor of our lemonade versus hot chocolate and coffee.
We're bumping up Monday's llama trip to tomorrow. Their schedule will resume on Wednesday. This will also be the last week that visitors can use Rainbow Falls Trail as an option every day. Once the Trails Forever rehabilitation work commences, hikers will be limited to its use Friday - Sunday into the fall season, much like Alum Cave was the last two years. We'll keep you updated on its progress throughout the year. Remember that Bull Head remains closed indefinitely, but Alum Cave, The Boulevard, Trillium Gap, and Brushy Mountain remain viable options for climbing the mountain.
Have a great rest of the weekend!
It's sunny and beautiful, and looks like that'll be the case all weekend. We got up to 52 degrees yesterday, with a low of 43. We received 0.4" of rain throughout the afternoon. Skies finally broke after supper, but returned just in time to spoil sunset. Anyone who attended sunrise this morning would have been redeemed.
No need to sit inside on a day like this. Everyone is out and about, enjoying the day in their own special way, whether it's tackling outdoor projects or taking in the splendors of the mountain. If the temps in the valley get to be too much for you, try and fit a LeConte visit into that schedule. Maybe we'll tap 70 degrees this weekend!
Have a great day!
The winds are blowing hard, sending the mist from the cloud that has claimed us in every direction. From the office porch I was able to clock gusts of 15-20 mph, and since the rain is expected to hang around until supper time, be sure and pack those layers for warmth and waterproof shells for protection.
Yesterday was one of the finest days of the season, our high temperature leaping to 67 degrees. Crew and guests took full advantage of the nice weather, completing outdoor projects, playing corn-hole, going for hikes, relaxing in hammocks, and cooking out on the grill. Our overnight low dipped to 43. It's currently 48, but the wet winds will make it feel cooler.
Gradually throughout the evening, the clouds began to veil the stars and the wind speed increased. Anyone up early enough would have seen a stellar sunrise, but it didn't take long for the clouds to drop and the rain to slide in. About the time I hauled coffee up to the office for our guests, the mountain quickly went from being lit up in orange, to an eerie haze of lavender, and then gray.
After today's turbulence in the sky rolls out of sight, we should be treated to a fantastic weekend. Temperatures should be pretty toasty down in the valley, so maybe Mt. LeConte will serve as your heat wave reprieve. Come on up and say "Hi," and enjoy springtime in the Smokies!
It’s shaping up to be a gorgeous day in the mountains. Last night’s sunset was stellar as we looked out over the clouds and watched them slowly clear out to the east, exposing the twinkling lights below as the colors waned above. The stars were incalculable, and you could easily pick out the hazy shades of the Milky Way. This morning’s sunrise was equally as impressive and clear. It’s quickly getting brighter each morning, as the need to use headlamps and kerosene lanterns to make breakfast is lessening. Once the sun took control of the day, we were able to tap 58 degrees for a high. Our low was yesterday morning’s 40 degrees at observation. The misting cloud we sat in all morning added 0.1” of rainfall before moving off. It’s currently 54 degrees and rising. Should be a great day to get out and play in the sun!
It’s been great to hear everyone’s compliments regarding the renovated staircase coming into the Dining Hall. Those of you who have paid us a visit these last few weeks may have noticed the other maintenance work we’re whittling away at in terms of steps and paths. The heavy rains and snow can take their toll on buildings, footpaths, and drainage ditches, so it’s good to give them some TLC every once in a while. Yesterday, ACE, P-Nut, and I decided to tackle our next project of refortifying the landing behind the kitchen. Hauling and smashing up rocks can be quite satisfying. This is the same place where our favorite llamas get to rest and replenish once they arrive with our supplies. We’ll see what they think of having a nice level spot to relax again!
Enjoy this fabulous weather and have a great day.
We had to wait a little bit longer to get that prolonged sunshine we were hoping for. Yesterday afternoon the rain returned and was a light mist through the night and up til late this morning. We recorded an additional 0.25" of rain before breakfast, plenty to keep surfaces slick if you don't watch your step. Our high yesterday reached 50 degrees, and our low managed to hit 39. The sun is taking control once again and the clouds are breaking up, which has temperatures steadily rising. We are currently in the mid 40s. Tomorrow looks to be shaping up to be a gorgeous day. If you're in the area, consider a trip up Mt. LeConte to make the most of your time here!
As I mentioned yesterday, we're anticipating the llamas to maintain a schedule of M/W/F in the coming weeks. Some of you have asked for specifics in regards to their packing schedule. The wranglers typically try to have them start up the trail around 7:00 AM, and average conditions see them arrive to the lodge between 11:00 and 11:30 AM. When they depart the lodge to return home can depend on several factors, so we can't necessarily provide an accurate time for that. Once they do leave, descending takes approximately 3.5 hours. Again, if you happen to see our wranglers loading up in the morning or hiking with the team, they are always happy to answer questions and allow pictures, but please respect their routine and desire to get the llamas and our supplies up and down the mountain in a timely fashion. Thank you!
Some of you may be wondering why there's a picture of a cake below. Well, you'd be hard pressed to find something that Tim Line has never accomplished up here in his 41+ years leading the lodge. We are all proud to announce that he can include baking a birthday cake to his already impressive resume. Thanks for all your help, Tim! Remember, guests staying with us can request cakes for special occasions by either contacting our office or notifying our cooks before 4:00 PM on the night of your stay.
Take care and happy trails!
We survived the deluge of the last 36 hours! We added an additional 1.5" of rain yesterday before skies started to break open just after sunset. It was a nice touch to be able to see come color on the western horizon before calling it a day. In total, we barely surpassed 3" for the storm. It sounds like the creek crossings haven't been too bad on the trails ascending the mountain, and that the water ran off rather quickly. Temperatures saw little change over the period, our high coming in at 45 degrees and our low last night a meager 40. The sun's been teasing us throughout the day, and we'll welcome the warming trend that's on deck.
Spring is slowly making it's way up the mountain. The evidence is more pronounced further down the approach trails, with grand stands of spring beauties, trout lilies, trillium, and many others putting on elaborate displays. The mountain myrtle will be blooming around Inspiration Point before you know it! We have some spring beauties popping up around the Dining Hall, and a smattering of violets elsewhere. The grass is starting to grow a little taller now, so it'll be time to get into the yard work routine soon. In the meantime, we had some hungry llamas that were craving the green stuff. Their assistance with the lawn maintenance is much appreciated.
As far as the upcoming llama train schedule goes, we're looking at Monday - Wednesday - Friday for the time being. If you're lucky enough to see our favorite critters, be sure to respect their space and the advice of the wranglers. Our trainees - Hershey, Bear, Max, and Reuben - are getting close to reaching the mountain top, and we're excited to see them join the ranks full time.
Congrats are in order for two wonderful people, former crew members of the lodge. Doug ('08-'10) and Millie ('09-'10) officially tied the knot on Saturday, and we are extremely happy for them. Doug was an outstanding cook for us several years back, and even had a winter caretaking stint. Millie was as kind-hearted and hard working as they come during her time on crew. We wish them the very best in their next chapter together.
Have a great rest of the day!
Good Afternoon Everyone,
Well, we've definitely been receiving some rain, which began around supper time yesterday. It's been falling steadily ever since, but never overbearing. At 6:45 AM this morning we measured 1.53" of rain, and after a recent rain gauge check at 1:00 PM we've added another half inch. The Flash Flood Watch has been extended until early Monday morning, so it looks like we'll get every bit of the 3-4" of rain that forecasters called for with this system. Our high temperature yesterday was 55 degrees, and our overnight low stopped at 40. Light winds combined with the liquid precipitation have the mountain feeling a bit chillier than the last several days, so be sure and layer up underneath those waterproof shells if you intend to summit.
We've had some outstanding guests join us in recent nights, and we absolutely look forward to hosting many more. I enjoyed listening to a gentleman share his observations of the post-dinner crowd that had congregated up in the office last night. Since the sunset was a washout, many of the guests relocated to the office, a popular night time spot for guest mingling. He spoke of children playing some of the many board games we have on hand up here, musicians walking their fingers on our collection of guitars, and other folks making good conversation in those comfy rocking chairs that surround the large propane heater. Simply put, folks making the most of their experience here with us on the mountain, regardless of the weather. And that's just one reason why LeConte Lodge is such a special place to so many. If you haven't had the opportunity yet, we hope you find your reason for coming to the mountain, and leaving with positive memories that will last a lifetime.
We appreciate seeing the rain, especially after last year's deficiency, and guests can count on cozy cabins and warm cups of hot chocolate to be waiting for them when they step inside from the elements. Have a great rest of the day and thanks for checking in on us!
Good Afternoon Readers,
The weekend is here and so is some interesting weather. We've been in and out of the clouds much of the last two days, but temperatures continue to feel mild. Our high temperature yesterday tapped 59 degrees and our overnight low was a moderate 47. We received just above a half inch of rain last night, and about a third of an inch the day prior. We've already experienced the lightest of sprinkles this afternoon, but skies are clearing with grand views to the north.
According to the forecast, we don't expect this to last. Starting now through Sunday night, this region is under a Flash Flood Watch, with rain percentages expected to ramp up about the same time we roll out the soup and cornbread. This storm system has the potential to dump as much as four inches of rain, which is an overwhelming amount of water in a brief period. If this turns out to be the case, expect a lot of water to be running off of this mountain, with creeks and waterfalls appearing in places you may not have thought possible. Please dress appropriately for these conditions if you choose to summit while this system moves through. Mid-cut boots, gaiters, waterproof shells, and a change of clothes at the top will serve you well! Temperatures are also expected to be below average the next couple of days. We'll see how it affects the type of precipitation we receive. Just because we've had enough of seeing the white stuff, doesn't mean it can't happen again.
We've had to alter our llama trips this week on account of schedules and now the weather. Bonnie led the boys today and we were sure glad to see them. If you've been up in recent days, you may have noticed they all look a bit thinner and significantly more beautiful. That's because they just received their annual sheering and veterinary visit. We simply can't thank Missy and the team from Lake Loudon enough for all of the care and guidance that our favorite large animals receive throughout the year.
Since we're on the topic of llamas, how about we feature another one of our fantastic and fuzzy team members...HUEY! Despite his stature, natural good looks, and youthful facial features, Huey is actually one of our oldest llamas and experienced veterans. He is also easier to distinguish among the various brown llamas currently in rotation. Huey has always had a unique faux hawk running between those long ears, but now that he's been recently sheered, he's rocking an awesome rat tail! My vote is that he should keep the look, but Mrs. Northrup feels otherwise. What do YOU think?
Have a great weekend, and come see us when you can!
The Lodge is experiencing technical difficulties. They should be able to blog later tonight or tomorrow. Yesterday's high was 54 and low was 45 with a trace of rain. The rain started in about 8:00 this morning. Rain is in the forecast off and on over the next few days so don't forget to pack rain gear.
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!