May 30, 2020
Yesterday was turning out to be a rather pleasant day on the mountain. The weather had different plans around supper time though, as a few pop-up storms flared up over Clingmans Dome and quickly found their way over to us. The rainy day streak extended to lucky number 13. It’s possible that after conditions clear up this morning, we could finally be getting some relief in the way of consistent sunshine. How nice would that be?
The lodge recorded 0.52” of rainfall, the majority of which fell during the evening hours. Our high temp was 64° and the low was 48°. We are currently staring at the clouds. This weekend is looking good for spending time in the outdoors, and temps don’t be appear to be too oppressive. A great way to send out the month of May.
It’s important to find the silver lining in this long stretch of clouds and rain. It has produced countless dramatic scenes from around the mountain, especially if skies broke enough for a sunset spectacular. Even the vegetation seems to be enjoying it, as the Catawba Rhododendron display down at Inspiration Point is putting on one of its better shows in recent years. In the coming weeks, the purple wave will hopefully make it’s climb up the trail along with several other types of vivid flowering plants. Remember, don’t pick the flowers, or else it ceases to be the beautiful thing that one admires, plus no one after you will have the pleasure of getting to enjoy it. Just one of several great Leave No Trace practices.
Have a great weekend.
May 29, 2020
The rain streak continues, at 12 consecutive days now as scattered thunderstorms maintain their stranglehold in the region. If the current forecast holds, we might finally spring free from it by Sunday. Some solid days of unbroken sunshine would be a welcome change at 6,593’ and a great way to ring in the month of June. There wasn’t much temperature variance yesterday as our high was 56° and our low was 49°. We tallied another 0.22” of rainfall and are once again staring at clouds.
As the spring season marches onward, there are so many things to enjoy and appreciate, both big and small. The grand vistas of vast mountain landscapes are breathtaking and inspiring, but equally impressive are the littlest of things down near our feet. A tiny Painted Trillium that has pushed through the surface soil, or the next generation of Dark Eyed Juncos. On Mt. LeConte the harsh climate can extend well past the winter months, and yet nature still finds a way to spring new growth and new life just as it does in the warmer lowlands.
May 28, 2020
It's another gray start to the day atop Mt. LeConte. Most of yesterday and this past evening were the same, a fogged in lodge and a persistent dampness. Rainfall only managed to only squeak out 0.13", but enough to keep the wet streak going. Temps are still hanging out in the lower 50s. This constant saturation can create unpredictable hazards on the trails. Log steps or water bars tend to lose any kind of traction, so avoid stepping on them to prevent slips and falls, and keep to stepping on dirt and rock fill.
If there's one thing that keeps the crew humming day to day, it's good music. An ongoing discussion this past week has been listing off the top American bands of all time across various genres. While trying to avoid any personal bias, the focus has been on albums and top hits produced, as well as influence. Also avoiding solo artists in the discussion (sorry Pop stars). We haven't even started to tackle those legendary bands from across the pond, keeping it strictly to the confines of the USA for now. A great way to put it, which American bands do you hear on the radio who have hit after hit come on and they just never get old? The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Green Day, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam...the list goes on and on.
May 27, 2020
These persistent clouds are having their way with the data connection up here...something many folks rightfully come to Mt. LeConte to escape, although a point of exasperation when needing to connect with the outside world. As of this afternoon’s latest rain shower, we are now on 11 days straight of receiving liquid precip. May has been a wet month in recent years, raining 17/31 days in 2017, 16/31 in 2018, while today marks 18 this year with 4 days to go. This may not end up being a Mt. LeConte record for the amount of rain in May (each of the years mentioned came in around 9”), but in terms of daily continuity this has to be up there with the rarities.
The lodge is mostly socked in, with light winds and temps stabilizing in the lower 50s. We tallied near a quarter inch of rain yesterday. Not expecting things to change much until early next week, so keep bringing those rain shells.
Even in these strange and rainy times, there are still so many great ways to enjoy the Mt. LeConte experience. Salamanders and Snails tend to come out of their typical hiding places even more in these conditions, a great activity if you’re up here with children. Need some tips on how and where to find them? Ask one of our crew members or an NPS Ranger if you meet one on the trail.
And so many guests have been taking advantage of the countless other ways to meet and socialize safely. Whether on the trail, chatting across cabin porches, in passing around camp, or sharing large rock faces for seats at sunset, there are so many great ways for fellow hikers and guests to bond and share their appreciation for life in the outdoors. And our crew enjoys meeting new visitors more than ever, so be sure and introduce yourself when buying this season’s “I Hiked It” shirt.
Stay dry, stay safe, and have a great rest of the day.
May 26, 2020
Today marks the 10th consecutive day of rainfall on Mt. LeConte, as we listen to the sound of droplets dancing on rooftops once again. 0.95” came down yesterday as predicted between meal times, and today looks to be fairly cut and paste. At least conditions are decent in the mornings while the crew tackles their daily camp cleaning chores, and in the evening when everyone is ready to relax and enjoy a calming sunset. Cloud cover is blocking the sun and keeping temps up here from getting out of control, staying in the 50s.
We’re looking forward to introducing our crew, now that they are back in the swing of things. Should have their updated photos and bios up on our team page soon. We have several familiar faces, and everyone is deeply committed to providing our guests with a great experience in the backcountry, even during such unusual times.
Have a great day.
May 25, 2020
Those of us at LeConte Lodge join the rest of the nation in observance of Memorial Day, as 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, standing up for so much in the name of freedom.
Sunday was something else, a bit like the inside of a washing machine one could imagine. An afternoon wash cycle of rain, hail, sun...and repeat. Whenever there were breaks, the skies were dramatic and stunning. The varying cloud types throughout the atmosphere, the waning sun’s rays, intermittent streaks of rain showers on the horizon. Such sights just add an entirely different level to the magic of being atop Mt. LeConte. The weather finally made up its mind halfway through dinner service, giving way to breathtaking skies and an inspiring sunset. The crew took the opportunity to unwind with a friendly, albeit competitive, game of baseball using what creative sports equipment was available to them.
Yesterday’s high was 65° and the low was 48°. Our final tally for rainfall came in at 1.2”. The strongest chance for storms today occurs from lunch to dinner time, so an early start for a hike will help one avoid the downpours and rumbles of thunder.
May 24, 2020
It’s a busier day on the mountain, and the weather has certainly been more interesting than yesterday. Beginning to lose track of how many rain showers and thunderstorms we’ve had roll through this afternoon. A couple moments of hail as well. Just when you think it’s over as skies clear and the sun shines, the next squall sneaks up on us. Temps continue to hang out in the upper 50s and lower 60s. Winds remain calm. Saturday’s precip tally was an unimpressive 0.05” of rainfall, but enough to keep the streak of wet days alive.
Conditions could not have been better than what occurred Saturday evening. The clouds finally broke by dinner time, the sun was out, a pleasant 60° and no wind. Every guest was out eating dinner on their porches. You could feel the vibes of happiness and relaxation radiating across camp, all while our dedicated crew scurried between kitchen and cabins offering their services. A different experience than the decades long history of lodge interior dining, but a fine example of folks making the most of the situation, enjoying the company of those they are with, and appreciating their time in a wilderness setting. There was even a sunset spectacular to be had.
The calls for rain in the extended forecast don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. So keep those rain jackets handy. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
May 23, 2020
What began as a stunning morning above the clouds eventually turned into a socked-in mountaintop with the occasional rain shower. Despite that, it feels pleasant up here with temps in the 50s, a nice reprieve from the summer like conditions below. We tallied 0.88” of rainfall yesterday, the bulk of which fell right as we were loading up the llamas for their descent. It’s never always sunshine and rainbows, and we’re thankful for all those boys do. Sunday’s forecast looks similar to today, if not slightly better. A little bit of sunshine would go a long way if that’s the case.
Alum Cave has officially reopened, and folks are certainly taking advantage of the shortest route to the summit this holiday weekend. With the Roaring Fork back open, the shorter portion of Trillium Gap is NL accessible as well. Along with Rainbow Falls, these three have recently been cleared of hazards and obstructions. Bull Head, The Boulevard, and Brushy Mountain are open but are yet to be fully cleared by NPS trail crews, so take that into account if planning to hike either of those.
May 22, 2020
Clouds. Some rain. Repeat. We appear to be stuck in a dreary weather cycle this week, with no end in sight. The amount of liquid precip received Thursday wasn’t much, just 0.17”, but the ever-present gray and mist has one longing for the return of the big bright orb. Temps were fairly steady yesterday, never leaving the range of 42°-49°. We anticipate similar conditions today. Temps down below are expected to rise in time for the weekend in the lowlands, but we’ll see if such a trend finds its way as far up as 6,593’.
We’re on the cusp of a major holiday weekend, and the reopening of the most popular trail to Mt. LeConte, if not the Smokies. We’re all under the impression that this weekend will see the largest influx of people to the mountain in quite some time, so come ready for dealing with the crowds. Better yet, consider one of the lesser used approach trails to the lodge to really hone in on those safe social distancing practices.
With decent chances of rain and pop up storms all weekend, visitors need to come prepared for sudden changes in the weather. As we continue to progress through our modified operations and limited occupancy, visitors who forgot rain jackets, wore the wrong type of shoes, or just aren’t used to hiking in such conditions, won’t be able to rely on hanging out inside our public spaces to dry off or warm up. Reminder that all purchases, food and gift related, are “to-go” to ensure everyone coming to the mountain gets a fair opportunity at making said purchase and that we don’t exceed the set occupancy limits. That means no inside dining or hanging out by the big space heaters at this time.
Please come ready for the conditions, and have the sense to turn around if things turn sour. With limited NPS staff, and the lodge likely being stretched in dealing with the holiday traffic surge, this is no time to make ill-advised decisions that require a medical rescue. Thank you for considering those who are already working extremely hard to provide visitors with a safe and enjoyable experience here in these majestic mountains.
May 21, 2020
It’s a misty mountaintop this Thursday. It doesn’t appear as though we will see any heavy rainfall today, but the chance for something stronger to roll through the region persists in the coming days. The lodge tallied a meager 0.25” during the night. Trails are still plenty wet, but drainages should no longer be overflowing their banks. Temps remain mild in the 40s.
We unveiled our updated logo Camelbak Eddy 0.75L Bottles several months ago via our online store, but new to the hydration lineup this year is our insulated bottle, the Camelbak Stainless Steel Chute Mag 0.6L. Simple and sleek with our mountain’s profile. Ideal for hot and cold beverages. Also great for decorating with your LeConte Lodge stickers. Come check them out on your next summit!
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!