I am not very good at mushroom identification, but I believe these beautiful specimens to be hemlock varnish shelf mushrooms. If you know what they are, and I am incorrect, please feel free to let us know. Chris and I came across them while we were taking a walk down Trillium trail.
It is a gloomy morning around the lodge. We are socked in again and it is looking like a chance of rain. The high yesterday was 59º with a low of 53º. If you make your way to our favorite mountain, make sure you bring a rain jacket or poncho.
The weekend is almost here. Actually, this time of year, we are busy every night. The sounds of children playing hide and seek, the laughter as they find a salamander and try and hang on to it, the chatter around the hot chocolate dispenser, and then the peace and quiet as they all fall asleep after a day filled with new adventures. That is summer around LeConte Lodge. It makes you wonder how many kids will aspire to be a ranger, a LeConte Lodge crew member, or maybe even a llama wrangler. I did have a four year old tell me she hopes to be the llama wrangler when she grows up. Now, that is a new career path. I guess climbing Mt. LeConte can be a life changer for all ages.
It was a nice day around the lodge. The high yesterday was 69º with a low of 53º. The guests enjoyed the nightly firework display thanks to Dollywood. I still find it interesting how sound travels. You see the beautiful burst of color and then you hear the boom about 30 seconds later.
I leave you, today, with one of my favorite quotes.
“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” - Dr. Seuss
Good morning Folks. I hope everyone is having a great one so far. It is a bit socked in at the top, but I see hints of sun light peeking through the fog. The high yesterday was 67º with a low of 48º. It rained for most of the afternoon. It seems to be the June pattern. It makes me feel like I am at the beach with afternoon showers. We are plugging along up top. As far as I know, Bullhead is still closed. We do not know any details about why. We just know it is due to bear activity. It sounds like you folks in the low lands know more than we do. I have also heard that Ice Water Springs Shelter is closed due to bear activity. Just remember, if you do see a bear, make a lot of noise, raise your hands, scream, shake the trees near by, and look as big as you can. Throw rocks if you need to. Usually, they are going to be running as quick as possible when they see you coming. DO NOT DROP YOUR PACKS. They will not chase after you for your pack. If they get ahold of a pack, they will figure out that the game of scare the hiker equals a snack. I have never had a bear come after me for my pack. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings. Hiking in the summer is a beautiful time to be outdoors. Be smart and be safe. Happy Hiking.
It was a gorgeous day up top. Our little friend, the resident doe, decided Chris needed some help weed eating. I guess she took that in a literal sense. She visits us every afternoon to see where she can help out with lawn care. It was a great day up top to sit and watch deer eat grass. The high was 70º with a low of 55º. It is going to be hot over the next few days. Remember to drink plenty of water on the trail. I always carry at least 2 liters or more when hiking up the mountain. I usually drink it all.
I am sure a lot of you have heard that Bullhead trail is closed due to bear activity. We are not sure where the bear was spotted. We are also not sure of any details. As for now, you can hike any of the other trails with no problems.
Sorry folks, I know you were missing the post yesterday. We were covered in clouds with storms passing all around us. Sometimes it is not possible to get a good signal from this remote mountain top. We listened to thunder most of the day and had a few rain drops, but nothing too bad. We were lucky to witness the amazing sunset that took place once the sun decided to break through a hole in the clouds. The high yesterday was 66º with 52º as the low.
I want to remind people to please make sure you start your hike with plenty of water and snacks. We have seen a few hikers make it to the top with no water and no food and seriously dehydrated. If you are hiking up the mountain and back down in one day, that is a long day. You need plenty of nourishment and water. Even if you are hiking a short hike, make sure to take food and water. You never know what could happen while on the trail. I also suggest people have a small flashlight in their pack as well. Your phone is not a good source of light. There are a lot of rocks and roots that you can trip over and cause injury. Safety is key when in the back country. Chris and I always carry water, snacks, a flashlight, an emergency space blanket, a rain jacket, a pocket knife, and a small first aid kit when ever we go for a hike. We are prepared for what ever situation we may encounter. You can ask the many hikers we have helped while in the backcountry. We made their trip much better because we were prepared. So, I wish everyone a happy and safe hike up the mountain.
The catawba rhododendron are starting to come to life. I love seeing these delicate buds bloom and paint the lodge area with beautiful pinks. The cone flowers are just around the corner. The temperatures have been nice. The high yesterday was 59º with a low of 47º. The sun is currently shining and the wind is blowing. You can pretty much count on afternoon showers through the month of June.
The crew enjoyed the first firework display of the season. Dollywood has started its nightly show at 9:30. We hung out and watched the tiny pops of color. It is always fun to have a different perspective on something that seems so big when you are on the ground looking up. It is also strange to watch it and then hear the boom a few minutes later. They don't last long, five to ten minutes at the max. I believe the display goes through August.
What an incredible way to wake up and enjoy my coffee. I will miss sunrises like these when we are down below. I was packing up some of our things yesterday, trying to get twelve years worth of stuff down the mountain has been interesting. I came across photos from our first few years at the lodge. It was great to be able to go back and remember some of the great crews we have worked with over the years. I am sure the next 5 months will bring back many stories of years past. Today, I am going to enjoy the beautiful weather we are experiencing. The sun is out and the sky is blue. It is going to be a stellar day for a hike up a mountain. Lace up those boots and come see us.
There has been some bear activity around the top of the mountain. Make sure you do not leave your pack unattended. We are stressing the importance of not leaving any thing on picnic tables or porches around the lodge. We don't want the bear to be tempted by any human food. With this being said, I ask you to not use the comment section as your own soap box. We are trying to educate people on the importance of keeping wildlife wild while at the same time enjoying this gem we call The Smokies.
The sun is trying to peek through the heavy cloud coverage. It could be a great day up top. No matter the weather, the hikers have been making their way up our beloved mountain. We have seen an influx in families over the past couple of weeks. I love seeing young kids running around camp and exploring what Mt. LeConte has to offer. I like to think that at least one of the kids that makes the hike will turn out to be a park ranger, park biologist, or at least a member of the 2024 LeConte crew.
We had another wet day yesterday. The high was 58º with a low of 45º. The sky let loose on us several times through out the day. All of this rain has turned the mountain top a lush green.
The mountain laurel were in full swing when Chris and I hiked up on Tuesday. Chris says it is one of his favorite. I would have to agree. Between the last of the catawba rhododendron and the mtn. laurel, it was a beautiful show of vibrant pinks and delicate whites. It won't be long before the rhodo starts to bloom around the lodge.
It has been a fairly wet few days. The high yesterday was 55º with a low of 49º. We saw another .75" of rain yesterday. It is that time of the year when the afternoon thunder storms roll through and let loose.
We were super excited to hear from our 2013 crew member, Bethany, who is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. She sent us a picture of her dominating the half gallon challenge. She has reached the Pine Grove Furnace State Park, which is a little over half way on the Appalachian Trail. One of the traditions is to chow down on a half gallon of Hershey's ice cream. Bethany had no problems finishing every bit. She is doing great and moving right a long. We can't wait to get the picture of her at the end her AT journey.
It never ceases to amaze me the beauty that comes after a storm. Chris and I had a beautiful and wet return to the mountain. We were able to take our time and enjoy the mtn. laurel in full swing at Inspiration Point. A little over half way up the trail the bottom dropped and the skies let loose. We found cover in a low point on the trail as hail pelted us. Thank goodness, I know that summer storms don't last very long. I was right. We could hear the thunder as it rolled further away. The rest of the trip was nice. I was nice and cool and just enjoyed the scenery. We returned to the mountain just in time for another thunder storm to pass through. All in all, the mountain received .91" of rain. The high was 66º with a low of 50º. We are currently watching the trees whip around and the sounds of rain fall on the sky lights. I think it is going to be another wet summer day on the mountain.
P.s. If there is anyone hiking up today from Knoxville, Chris and I would love a Knoxville paper. There is an article about our new venture once we retire from the mountain in November. Thanks from the mountain top.
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!