May 31, 2017
Tis the last day of May. Almost hard to believe that the summer season is already here. It's been an interesting month to say the least, especially in terms of weather. It's rained 17 of 31 days (and today still isn't over), as of this afternoon totaling 9.47". We've seen a fair amount of warm sunny days and stellar solar shows, countered by plenty of getting to personally know the clouds. Temperatures have ranged from 71 to 20. Winds have gone from nonexistent to the awesome force of near 90 mph. We've been covered up in snow, and seen the plant life grow frenetically. One typically expects June to be less diverse, but the way this year has gone, we'll just have to roll with whatever blows our way. Expect the unexpected, pack for anything, and enjoy it to the max anyways.
The sun and clouds have been doing a tango all day on top of the mountain. We're enjoying the 50's at the moment, where it feels great in the light, but still a wee bit chilly in the shade. We reached 63 degrees for a high yesterday, getting down to 45 last night. There was no new precipitation despite watching storms pass over the Tennessee Valley to the north during supper time.
Have a great rest of the day!
May 30, 2017
It took some time and effort, but the sunshine finally seized the day and has been warming up the mountain all afternoon. Yesterday's high temp was 58 degrees, accompanied by a low of 46. The occasional drizzles accounted for only 0.13" of rainfall. Currently we're enjoying the sunny rays in the lower 60's.
We're continuing to see more day hiker traffic, now that schools in this region have begun to dismiss their students and families are tackling their summer vacations. Expect more congestion on the trails and especially at each of our trail's parking lots. Be sure and get there early to secure a decent parking space.
Catawba Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel continue to make the climb up the mountainside. Soon, this famous mountain will be bursting with beauty. Get out and enjoy it if you can! Special thanks to Bonnie for providing today's images from the trail!
May 29th, 2017
Today, Mt. LeConte joins the rest of America in observance of Memorial Day, and we honor those who gave their lives in service of our country. We remember the fallen men and women in uniform, who so proudly and bravely wore our nation's colors. Thank you to those who we have lost for standing up for so much in the name of freedom.
The mountain is currently cloaked in a somber fog, with the sun making failed attempts at breaking through. The rain struggled to amount to anything yesterday, as we tallied a miniscule 0.05" of liquid precipitation. Our high temperature for the day reached 60 degrees, and our low was an acceptable 48. We're hanging out in the mid 50's for the time being. Keep that rain shell close by if you intend to summit.
We're awaiting the llama train with some fresh supplies, and of course, we'll expect them to return both Wednesday and Friday this week. We greatly appreciate guests and day hikers sharing trail information with us, particularly in regards to Trillium Gap. Finding out about slides or downed trees in advance of a llama trip goes a long way in preventing our dedicated wranglers from getting in a bind. Thanks for your help.
We've witnessed the return of a certain male bear in camp. Please be aware of what to do should you encounter one here in camp or on the trail. If you experience a sighting or aggressive activity, please be sure and notify us here at the lodge and the fine folks managing wildlife with the NPS.
Take care and happy trails.
May 28, 2017
4:00 PM Update:
The NPS road crews were able to reopen US 441 today, so trails like Alum Cave and The Boulevard will once again be optional routes to the lodge for the holiday. Future storm pending of course. We aren't hearing about trees down on any of the trails, which is good news.
We received 0.65" of rain yesterday, but not much has happened today, just the occasional spitting. Temps have been comfortable, hovering in the upper 50's and lower 60's. Still several days of storms forecasted, so please dress appropriately if you have plans of paying us a visit.
Have a great rest of the day!
11:00 AM Update:
US 441 through the park remains closed at this hour due to downed trees from last night's powerful storm. Guests and dayhikers looking to ascend the mountain today can still gain access from Cherokee Orchard, Roaring Fork, and Greenbrier. Please use caution around downed or low hanging trees, especially if winds pick up. We're sunny and warm right now, but more storms are forecasted for this afternoon. We'll do our best to keep you up to speed on road and trail conditions. Take care.
May 27, 2017
As expected, a holiday weekend means busy to the umpteenth power! The mountain is abuzz with hikers and guests enjoying the cooler temps, stocking up on their favorite merchandise, and indulging on those delicious chocolate chip or no-bake cookies.
Yesterday was our first day of significant sunshine in over a week, and it would've been foolish not to spend all day outside. It was a great day for strolling the trails, relaxing in rockers, cooking on the grill, or in my case, an appreciated opportunity for tending to some much needed yard work. The last day of rain prior leaked just 0.05" on the mountain. Once the clouds dissipated in the morning, our high temperature eventually reached 62 degrees, and the low of 38 was from the morning before.
It's comfortably mild up here today, despite being stuck in the clouds. The chance for storms increases later this afternoon and seems to be the norm once again rolling through the days ahead. We're getting into the time of year where the mountain will experience a variety of weather in a single day. A suggestion if you're not used to exploring the Smokies in the summer...plan for sun AND rain.
Time to get back at it! Have a great start to the holiday weekend, wherever you might be.
May 25, 2017
Establishing a connection today has been a trying task, so I'll keep this short and sweet. After a break in the action last night and most of this morning, the rain and winds have returned. We received 0.75" of rain yesterday, and today marks the seventh straight day with precipitation. Our high temperature was 43 degrees, and we managed to dip all the way down to 31 overnight. It's currently 34, so between that, the wind, and the rain you can count on things being significantly chillier than they have been. Please prepare for summitting accordingly.
It looks like the wet spell will finally conclude later today. Tomorrow should be gorgeous and witness a return to warmth. The rest of the holiday weekend is calling for more storm chances, but we'll see how that all shakes out. Hike safe and enjoy your afternoon.
May 24, 2017
There’s no shortage of water running off of the mountain! We raked in another 1.4” of steady rain, and the drainage gullies have been overflowing all around camp. Efforts to divert water to their respective drainages toward LeConte Creek or Roaring Fork, and not surging through camp, often seem futile in such conditions. There was a bit of a reprieve early this morning, as the sunrise was kicking into gear about the same time I was repetitiously tapping the old snooze button. Biscuit making and coffee perking was an extra relaxing experience today with such calming colors streaking along the horizon. But alas, the state of saturation returned. Yesterday’s high temp reach 54 degrees, and our overnight low bottomed out at 43. We’re currently hanging out in the lower 40’s, and the blustery winds are a new additive to the constant presence of rain clouds and mist. Just as the llamas arrived with today’s delivery, the storms let loose with heavy rain, thunder, and pea-sized hail. The radar appears to show it continuing through much of the day. Dress appropriately.
The Mountain Myrtle displays at Myrtle Point and Cliff Tops are now at peak bloom. The millions of tiny white and pink stars hold up pretty well, even in the rain we've been getting, before turning brown and withering. If you have hopes of seeing them in person, the coming days will be your best bet. After that, we can start to look forward to the next stage of amazing wildflowers that take the mountain by storm.
If you happen to come across any damage to the trails caused by recent storms, please share such information with us and/or the NPS so they can be remedied speedily. Thanks and have a great day.
May 23, 2017
Good day to you!
We continue to sit around in a soaker. The mountain collected another 0.5" of rain yesterday, and we'll see what else gets added by measurement tomorrow. Conditions remain misty and mild, with temps in the low 50's. Monday's high reached a solid 61 degrees, and our low reading came in at 44. Our overnight guests were treated to another lovely light show in the sky after a mostly dreary day on the trail. Every once in a while, the clouds overhead would break enough for us to look out over the inversion layer that had socked in the valley. The occasional views north, or from the famous vistas around the mountain were greatly appreciated by all who ventured out.
After getting sidetracked on our weekly llama highlights, we'll have to pull at least a double feature this week to get back on schedule. So without any further hesitation, let's make mention of a well know regular on the supply train, our very own...CLIFF! (aka Clifford Cliff Tops). Dear Cliff is our most senior llama, in both age and experience with the team. He even out dates Mr. Householder when it comes to years of service with the hauling herd. That connection is likely why the two of them are basically best buds, although Cliff tends to be a favorite of many which maybe lends to his receiving of the occasional extra treat! Words that describe this particular llama include cool, calm, collected, and consistent. We can always rely on Clifford to get the job done, with an expression that simply says, "I got this." Plus he's always been so great with people. This particular packer has been a fantastic lead llama for his team, getting his squad to wherever they need to go, a task greatly appreciated by whichever wrangler is hiking that trip. 2017 will be Clifford's retirement tour, and we are all so very proud of his accomplishments. Years of grazing and sweet treats are in his future, and well deserved. Be sure and thank Cliff for his service if you are fortunate enough to see him leading his team up Trillium. He may even flash that humble smile of his!
Stay dry out there and have a great day.
May 22, 2017
Bit by bit we're easing our way back into the sunshine and out of the grasp of the clouds and mist that have dogged the mountain the last day and a half. We welcomed another 1.2" of rain yesterday and early this morning, and precip chances still remain for the coming days. It's also looking like daily temperatures will slide down into a milder range leading into the weekend. Our high temp yesterday was 55, followed by a low of 48, so not much variance there. Currently we're enjoying 58 degrees under a lightly veiled yellow orb.
This past Sunday was an absolutely incredible day to be sharing in the LeConte experience. We enjoyed hosting a great group of guests who were committed to taking command of the climb, despite the damp conditions facing them. One among them most certainly deserves to be recognized. We were afforded the opportunity to host an inspiring lady, known to her dear family and friends as "Granny," who conquered Mt. LeConte at the young age of 80 years old amid well deserved celebration. It was a special moment for all of us present to a part of, and we can't wait to welcome her back for future birthdays! Her love of family and friends, and appreciation of the lodge and mountain around her connect with the very pillars that make this venue so special. Let's hear it for "Granny!"
Attached to this wonderful occasion, was a post-sunset solo musical performance by Miss Ira Wolf. Guests and crew were treated to an hour of melodic masterpiece by such a talented young singer and songwriter. Music has always played a unique part in shaping the lodge experience over the years. We've had the pleasure of hosting so many great, gifted folks with musical talents through the ages, several of which have been on crew, and we're so grateful to have witnessed another memorable evening of song. If you'd like to replicate part of the experience, Ira's love for music can be heard and felt from her site, irawolfmusic.com.
Slow as molasses, the skies separated after dinner service in just enough time to paint a colorful sunset of oranges and purples, with intermittent puffs of white and gray passing in between. Everyone's just reward for ascending the mountain in the slog. As guests assembled in the Dining Hall turned Concert Hall, chairs quietly began to fill, Ira's voice as light as a songbird spun sweet sounds, lamp light on tables and walls enhanced the ambiance and comfort, and time seemed to stop as the vivid colors of the waning sun failed to fade through the window panes we all faced. The mood, the sights, and the sounds combined to make one of those magical Mt. LeConte moments where the setting simply takes hold of you. It was as though you could feel the ghosts of lodge years past coming out of the walls and picture frames, pulling up a chair next to you in silence and nodding in approval of the occasion with a smile, thinking that this is what it's all about. Family and strangers turned friends, coming together on a secluded mountain top, enveloped in the majesty of nature from the skies above to the rocks and grit beneath our feet, sharing in a common joy and passion.
Thank YOU, as our guests and followers, for helping to provide these kinds of moments. It is an honor and privilege to serve as the mechanism for these opportunities, and we so very much look forward to experiencing more with you. If you've been here before, we hope you never lose inspiration for coming back, whether it's Granny's proof that age is just a number, or the desire to sit around a cozy heater in rocking chairs with strings in hand. If Mt. LeConte is on your to-do list for the first time, we hope you can find your unique reason for calling this place special, and we encourage you to share it with us.
Again, thank you. This season is still just getting started, so let's continue to make some memories together! Have a fantastic start to the week.
May 21st, 2017
It's only fair that after yesterday's bountiful sun-fest we endure a day marked by clouds and rain. There'll be no complaining on our part regarding this fact, as there seems to be an appreciated balance of sun and rain so far this season. Our high temperature for the day tapped 71.8 degrees, our new high mark for 2017 thus far. Our overnight low dipped to 48, and we're currently rolling through the day in the 50's. A storm system moved in late last night and dropped 0.35" of rain on us before breakfast, and it's been coming down steadily ever since. Conditions don't feel too bad indoors, but if you're out and about today be sure and pack the appropriate layers for warmth and protection, as even a light rain can bring on a chill.
Snails. They are precious. And they seem to be everywhere on the mountain these days. They must be enjoying life on Mt. LeConte as much as we are. Snails can blend in easily with the terrain, and quite often they can be found in transit smack dab in the middle of the trail. Don't forget to look down for the little guys in between those grand vistas that require one to look up and outward.
Kudos to our friends from the NPS wildlife management team for helping us with the rise in bear activity around camp recently. It's obvious through their diligent work that they truly care about protecting the animals in the park and are invested in educating the millions of visitors the Smoky Mountains see annually. A bear recently trapped and assessed differs from the one reported at the shelter a few days ago, so it's possible the backcountry shelter will remain closed for a bit longer. We'll be sure and let you know when that changes. In the meantime, we hope our latest fuzzy acquaintance has lost interest in the goings-on of camp and returns to foraging in the acres upon acres of lush forest. As always, we appreciate hikers and overnight guests informing us of any bear activity on the trail, that way we can keep everyone well informed.
Have a great rest of the 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!