Once again, yesterday brought a mix of weather. It was sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. It was nice just long enough for the crew to believe it was time to do some laundry. In case you have been lying awake at night trying to figure out how we did laundry, I thought I would save you some sleepless nights. We do it the "old school" way. We have a sink in our crew shower room. The clothes get soaked and then scrubbed on a scrub board. We then rinse the clothes and ring them through an old ringer that attaches to the sink. The clothes are then ready to be hung out to dry. We get the fresh laundry smell that only sun dried clothes can get. Just another day living at a rustic lodge.
The high yesterday was 66º with a low of 53º. Once again, the clouds moved out enough for a good sunset and another fireworks display. We are currently under a beautiful blue sky. Not a bad way to end the month of June.
After an extremely rainy day, the clouds moved over and shared the sky. We witnessed a beauty of a sunset followed by the spectacular fireworks display from Dollywood. It was a great conclusion to the day. The rain chilled things off a bit. The high was only 61º with a low of 55º. It was jacket weather last night. This morning is starting out sunny. We saw the sun come up over High Top and the clouds seem to be moving on. It could be the making of a spectacular day on the mountain. If you are hiking up to stay the night, don't forget to bring some layers. The nights have been chilly and you will want to something warm to put on.
I don't often get to share stories from folks about how this mountain has touched theirs lives. Nathan is more of the story teller, so I let him do the sharing. The following pictures were sent to me with a brief description and thought it was so awesome that I wanted to share it with all of you.
"We gathered some of the 25 that had hiked to LeConte and stayed the first week of June 2014 to be in the Homecoming parade in our hometown of Dresden Ohio. The theme of our float was America the Beautiful, Leave No Trace. We won Best of Class. We hiked the parade route beside the float with one adult and the two smallest in their kid backpacks that they went up to Mt Leconte in. It was fun! We had a blown up group picture from June 12th on the sides of the float. I know you are only to send one picture but thought you might like to see the float!"- Mary Anne Sheffield
Thanks for sharing, Mary Anne. I know those kids will have such fond memories of this. I was on duty while the family was up here. The children had so much fun. I could hear them playing hide and seek out back of the kitchen. I often hear stories of several generations sharing the mountain. It is so much fun to see someone, who came up as a child, bring their children to the lodge and share the magic. That is what LeConte Lodge is all about.
Ahhh.....the green of summer. The coneflowers are starting to peek through and the monks hoods are starting to show little blooms. I predict that the mountain will be exploding with color in a couple of weeks. It is hard to believe we are almost half way through the summer. We are still getting our June showers. It rained for a little bit this morning. It has currently stopped, but we are still in the clouds. The high yesterday was 65º with a low of 53º.
The weekend is upon us, which means lots of day hikers. Be safe out there and happy hiking.
We are starting out with another dreary day. We are in the fog with a light drizzle. That description would describe yesterday as well. We did have times of heavy rain. Remember folks, when you are hiking in wet conditions, be extremely careful. The ground is slick. It is not the best day to attempt to make your fastest time up the mountain. I say this because we have had a couple injuries over the past couple of days, due to the wet conditions. We had to fly one person off with a broken ankle. That is not the way you want to spend your day, waiting on the skies to clear so the helicopter can make its way to the mountain. We were lucky and had an hour window between 4 and 5 p.m. The other way down would have been a slow and painful ride off on horse back. The guest was an excellent patient and the Park Rangers hiked up and took great care of him.
The high yesterday was 60º with a low of 52º. The rain kept it a little chilly up top. The wind was blowing a bit. That made it a bit tricky for the helicopter. It was interesting to watch as the helicopter flew around the mountain to try and assess the weather pattern. For those of us on the ground, we were not sure why it was taking them so long to land. The pilot said the clouds were causing some pockets of wind that we could not tell from where we were. I have much respect for those brave folks who fly those helicopters. I am sure the wind currents through the Smokies are pretty tricky.
Someone yesterday asked about the photographs on the blog. For the past several months, the photos have been taken with my phone. I have been experimenting with close up shots trying to see how much detail I could get with the camera on my smart phone. I do have a professional SLR camera, but I have not used it in a while. The macros you have been viewing are from my phone.
It was a day full of rain. The mountain was pretty quiet for most of the day. Around 2 p.m. we started seeing wet hikers making their way into the lodge. Some of you were asking about trail safety in case you are caught in as storm while hiking. If Chris and I find ourselves in the middle of a storm, we always try and make it to lower area. You want to steer clear of tall trees, mountain tops, and exposed areas. We then look for a rock outcropping or an area that is somewhat covered. The next thing you want to do is squat with your heels touching. If you can squat on your daypack, sleeping pad, or rock that is ideal. If you can squat without touching the ground that is also ideal. If you were to catch a ground current, the idea is for the current to go up one leg and down the other, without traveling through your main torso. You want as little contact with the ground as possible. Chris and I were caught in a storm the last time we came back to work. The first thing we did was keep hiking until we came to a low area in the trail. We were between two ridges. We took cover until we could tell the main part of the storm had passed. I hope this information helps you stay safe while hiking.
Today is starting out the same way. It is currently raining at the lodge. We heard a forecast calling for 50% chance of rain. If you are hiking up, don't forget your rain jacket or poncho. It will make for a much more pleasant trip. We will have hot chocolate waiting for you.
We witnessed some wicked storms, to the north of us, yesterday afternoon. We were sitting in the sun watching the rain fall on the valley below. I hope everyone in the area is ok and the gardens got plenty of watering. We listened to claps of thunder for a good two hours. I didn't see any lightening. I am not the biggest fan of thunder storms, but my husband loves them. He gets really excited when he hears a big one rolling in. It was a warmer day yesterday. The high was 70º with a low of 52º. The humidity was pretty thick. Remember, on high humidity days, you need to drink more water than usual. You will sweat a lot and it is important to stay hydrated. Have a great day and happy hiking.
The LeConte Lodge family would like to extend our deepest condolences to the National Park Service and to the family of Deputy Superintendent Patty Wissinger. We will continue to carry you in our thoughts and lift you in our prayers during this difficult time of loss.
We seem to be in and out of the clouds this morning. While the sun was out, I couldn't resist capturing a close up of the beautiful blooms of the catawba rhododendron. I have been on a close up kick of all of the flowers on the mountain. I am trying to push my smart phone to the limit and see what kind of macro shots I can get. I am amazed at the quality of photographs these new smart phones can take. It makes it so simple.
We are in a summer weather pattern. Afternoon showers seem to be the norm. It is pretty for part of the day and cloudy for part. I will say that the guests have been treated to some great sunsets. The high yesterday was 67º with a low of 50º.
Remember, folks, if you are hiking later in the day, make sure you carry a flashlight with you. I suggest having one in your daypack as part of your pack, but if you don't, add one. I know sunset is around 8:50, but you could still get stuck on the trail, and you will find a light source is a good thing. DO NOT COUNT ON YOUR CELL PHONE as your light source. That is not dependable and the battery does not last very long.
Today's theme is Death By Chocolate. Actually, that would be today's dessert. Traditions help make this job special. One of the LeConte Crew traditions is to sit down every Sunday and have a "family meal" together. It is our time to take a breather and enjoy our family time. It makes me laugh to watch the crew as they look over the menu for Sunday lunch. I hear them say "ooo.....death by chocolate", "oh man, that is going to be so good", "I love Sunday lunch", those are just a few of the comments I heard this morning. I quickly learned that if there was a certain type of food I was craving, I had better learn to cook it. Chris and I have attended cooking school in almost every country we have visited. If we want pizza, we have to a make it. If we want Thai, we have to make it. Indian, Mexian, Cajun, Cambodian, are just a few of the cook books you will find in my arsenal. It will be different when we get off the mountain and plug in the ice cream maker instead of hand churning it. It might not taste as good, though.
Today is a great day to be heading up the mountain. The high yesterday was 67º with a low of 50º. It is sunny and warm on the north side of the mountain. It is going to be a good day to take a stroll and work off dessert.
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!