This morning could not have started any better. I am not sure when "the rain" is supposed to arrive, but we are under blue skies and bright sun shine. The ground is sparkling in the morning dew. I had to capture the dew on this dandelion. It looked so delicate.
I believe it is going to be a busy day on the mountain. If I weren't already up here, I would lace up my boots and take a hike. I think I will do that anyway. It will be nice day for a stroll and seeking out junco nests. I love finding the nests and watching the chicks as they get bigger by the day. Hopefully, I will be able to take some photos of some. The high yesterday was 67º with a low of 50º. It is perfect hiking weather. Happy Hiking
Rain for the Weekend
It went from a beautiful morning to a cold and rainy afternoon. The high was 67º with a low of 47º. The mountain received 1.34" of rain yesterday. It made for some cold hikers. We blasted the heater and kept the hot chocolate good and hot. So far, today is looking nice. The sun is up and the sky is partly cloudy. It sounds like we are in for some rain this weekend. Please remember to bring extra clothing with you if you are hiking up in the rain. You are going to get wet and it does get chilly at the top.
The Park Service let us know that they are paving the lower lot at Alum Cave. We hope they will be done today, but that is not a guarantee. If you are hiking up Alum Cave trail, you may want to get an early start to get a parking place.
Watching the Clouds Roll Away
There is nothing better than sitting out at Myrtle Point watching the clouds roll in. Yesterday was a perfect day for that. The rain clouds didn't blow through until later in the afternoon. The high was 67º with a low of 49º. The mountain was abustle with hikers, the crew has settled into their routines, and the weather is getting warmer by the day. Feels, smells, and looks like summer on the mountain. I am going to enjoy taking in my last full summer around the lodge. I want to take the last twelve years of memories with me and keep them close to my heart. This mountain will always feel like home to me. I know you all understand because I read how the mountain has touched so many of your lives. That is what makes this mountain top so magical. It means so much to so many.
Starting off the morning with a biscuit topped with heirloom strawberry preserves and honeysuckle jelly will put a smile on anyone's face. Thank you to the family, from Mississippi, who packed us up some yummy home made treats. The crew has been gorging themselves on biscuits topped with this fabulousnes. This is my first time trying honeysuckle jelly, and I must say, I am a huge fan. The crew wondered how many hours it took to pull enough stems out of the honeysuckle to get enough nectar to make a batch. Just kidding. That would take days. Thanks to the internet we figured out the process.
The morning is starting off cloudy with a hint of sunshine peeking through. Just another reminder that you never know what you are going to get on the mountain. The high yesterday was 64º with a low of 49º. We experienced scattered showers yesterday. They are predicting the same for today. Summer has hit the mountain. We have seen an influx in kids. I know summer is here when the tree in front of the bathrooms is adorned with kid limbs as well as tree limbs.
The rattle of the windows and the flickering of lightning coming through the curtains made it difficult to get out of bed this morning. We had a storm roll through about 6 a.m. that would make any adult want to pull the covers over their head and hide. Chris loves the thunderstorms that roll in, I am not such a big fan. I still play the game of counting from the crack of the thunder until the lightning strike. It still makes me a little uneasy when they happen at the same time. I will admit, the vegetation turns an extremely vibrant shade of green.
It was a rather mild Memorial Day. The high was 64º with a low of 51º. The mountain was not as busy as I thought it would be. I guess a lot of folks were heading home after their long weekend. If you are in the area and hiking up today, make sure you have some sort of rain gear or poncho. It is looking like it is going to be a wet day.
Memorial Day on Mt. LeConte
It turned out to be a rainy Sunday, but that did not stop the hikers from ascending the mountain. We went through a lot of hot chocolate which helped take the chill off of the wet dayhikers. I took a moment to check out the flower beds around camp. I was pleasantly surprised to find not just the usual one trillium, but seven. I love the surprises that each year brings. I never know what to expect.
The trillium I found were the Sweet White Trillium (trillium simile). It is the white form of the Wakerobin Trillium. You may also hear it referred to as a White Wakerobin. I look for these flowers every spring. When we started this job, 12 years ago, there were not any trillium in our flower beds. I found the first one about six years ago. Every year, I watch to make sure they are still there.
It is a cool, cloudy morning on the top. The high yesterday was 56º with a low of 48º. It looks like it could be another rainy day. I hope it is clear below for all of your Memorial Day cookouts. Those of us on the mountain would like to take a moment to remember all of those brave men and women who have served and protected the United States of America. You are in our hearts and minds.
Wow....What A Day
You don't get days much better than this. Saturday was a fantastic day to be on the mountain. The high was 63º with a low of 42º. People were all over the mountain, enjoying the views and the perfect temperatures. It is looking like today is going to be a repeat, so you still have time to lace on those hiking boots and hit the trail. If not to LeConte, then you favorite local hiking trail.
Tallest Mountain in the Smokies
Our alarm went off at 2:50 a.m. so we could catch the epic May Camelopardalids meteor shower. I put on my warm clothes and went outside to find a good spot to watch the show. Well, we waited, and waited, and waited. Oooo... there went one. Then we waited and waited again. I saw one meteor in a span of ten minutes. I decided sleep was more important so I returned to my warm bed. Oh well, there is always the next one.
When I took a walk the other day, over the peak of Mt. LeConte, I was impressed at how busy someone had been to make Mt. LeConte the tallest mountain in the Smokies.
Clingmans Dome is the highest mountain in the Smokies, sitting at 6643'. Mt. Guyot is the second highest mountain in the park, at 6621'. Mt. LeConte is the third highest, at 6593'. Mt. Leconte is 50' shorter than the tallest mountain. Well, some people decided they were going to make Leconte the tallest mountain. So, they started piling rocks to see if they could make the top of LeConte 51' taller. I am not sure when this tradition started, but it has been around a while. Many people add that to their to-do list when they reach the summit. I think we still have a few feet to go, but I was impressed at the progress made when I passed by the other day. Maybe one day we will have to change the elevation on the t-shirts to ready "Mt. LeConte, 6643' elevation".
Have a Great Memorial Day Weekend
I took a little break from work and made a trip out to Myrtle Point to admire the sand myrtle. They were in full glory. It was a nice way to bask in the sun for a few minutes and take in the butterflies and flowers. I soaked up enough vitamin D to help me through this weekend. We had a house full of teenagers last night which was a reminder that school is out and families are going to start making their way to the lodge. You could hear the kids playing games in the office and laughter through out camp. Just the way it supposed to be. It is great to witness the lodge bringing so much happiness to all age groups. There are so many wonderful memories that are made around this mountain top. Our interpretive ranger, Mark Pitt, is back for another season. He comes up Thursday-Saturday and gives some great talks about the wildlife and history of Mt. LeConte. We wish we could keep him seven days a week, but the park service thinks he deserves a few days off during the week. As do we, he works non stop while up here. We will enjoy his knowledge while we have it. I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day Weekend. If you are heading our way, happy hiking and see you on the top.
Do Not Feed the Wildlife
The clouds gave way and made for a perfect day on the mountain. The high was 62º with a low of 49º. My daily chores kept me from walking out to Myrtle Point to check on the sand myrtle. I hope to get our there soon. The mountain is becoming greener by the day. I love seeing new growth on all of the vegetation around camp. It is as if you can see the mountain coming to life before your very eyes.
The squirrels are starting to get bolder. Remember, if you are at the lodge, or anywhere in the park, do not feed them. They will bite. This is the time of year when we find them climbing on our window screens on the kitchen. They would love to find a way in. I have found that splashing water on them gets them off the screen pretty quickly. I guess we are lucky it is squirrels and not bears. Back in the day they would have crew members sleep in the kitchen to make sure the bears did not get in. I wouldn't want that guard duty. Since the lodge put in the incinerator, it has cut down on our bear activity. We may see one or two a year, not the dozen or so they use to see. I do like the idea of the bears staying wild and relying on nature for their food. We have not seen any in camp this year. We have had tells of one around the shelter, bu that didn't last long. Maybe it has moved on. Just remember when you are hiking, do not feed the wildlife. If you are camping in the backcountry, hang your food. If you are a lodge guest, keep your food in the designated food cans and do not leave your snacks unattended. The boomers, a.k.a. squirrels, are quick and will chew through anything.
I hope everyone enjoys the mountains this weekend. Come on up and see us. We will have plenty of our famous "No-Bake" cookies waiting for you.
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