A beautiful start to another great day on the mountain. The high yesterday was 70 with mid 50's in the evening.
The last day of July. My how time flies. A couple of weeks left of summer before the kids return to school. The mountain has been busy for the past month. Kids running around barefoot and enjoying summer on the mountain.
I witnessed something I have not seen before. It is not uncommon to see a lot of bees during this time of year, but yesterday morning there were 100's of them all over the cone flowers. They looked like they were sleeping. I would see 2 or 3 bees per flower. If I have any entomologists out there, could you explain what was going on. I have never seen this before.
Now that our science discussion is posted, the day was beautiful. The clouds rolled in yesterday evening and dropped an inch and a quarter of rain during the night. We are currently socked in and it is a bit on the chilly side.
There have been reports of bear activity on the mountain. I would say the yearlings are starting to roam around looking for food. The berries will be in full blast in a few weeks.
I know the link I am about to include is not about LeConte, but I have been following this woman for the past month and half. Her journey is about to come to an end. She is a strong athlete and an inspiration. Jennifer was scheduled to hike through the Smokies last Tuesday or Wednesday. I thought her blog would make for some great summer reading. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have. Click on the photo and it will take you to her blog.
It was a beautiful, sunny day on the mountain. A much needed dose of vitamin D for the crew that has been up top for a while. Chris and I enjoyed checking out the wildflowers on our hike up on Tuesday. The purple gentian is coming up around the grassy slide on the upper section of Alum. We saw some blueberries as well. It is starting out to look like another beautiful day. Time to get out and explore the mountain.
Chris and I are back from our time off the mountain. It was a great trip. I ran down the mountain last Wednesday just in time to witness one of my dear friends giving birth. I was given the gift of being in the delivery room and seeing her beautiful baby boy come into this world. I got to the hospital, straight from the trail, with 20 minutes to spare. Close call!! Chris and I hiked back up yesterday. It was a hot hike up. Thanks to the rain the mountain has been experiencing, there were plenty of places to put your head under water. It was a huge relief. The flowers are in full swing up top. Won't belong for blackberries. I took some pictures of some flowers for you. The first one I will share is Indian pipe or Ghost pipe. These flowers are easy to identify because they are the only flower that does not contain chlorophyl.
The Origin of the Indian Pipe Plant
as told by John Rattling-Gourd
Before selfishness crept into the world - that was a long time ago - the Cherokee people were happy and peaceable. They used the same hunting grounds and fishing grounds as their neighbors. They fished in the same streams and hunted in the same stands of forest. There were no arguments about boundaries and there were no arguments about fishing rights. But this was before Men became greedy. All this changed when Men learned to quarrel.
The first quarrel that arose was between the Cherokee and a neighboring tribe. It was a long and bitter quarrel, so bitter that the chiefs of the two tribes decided to meet in council to try and settle their trouble. And so they met, one day, and they smoked the peace pipe in solemn council, but they did not stop quarreling. A puff on the peace pipe and a bitter word was the way it went. Days passed and still the council sat and smoked and quarreled.
Now the Great Spirit was much displeased that the Indians should quarrel while smoking the pipe of peace. And the Great Spirit said, "I shall have to do something toyou men that will show you that People should live together in peace, and that when Indians smoke the pipe, it must be done in peace."
The Great Spirit looked down at the old Men sitting in all that smoke. And he saw how gray they looked and how their heads hung down in weariness because it had been many nights since they had slept. And so he turned the old Men who smoked there in the council into small silvery gray flowers, their heads bent over and their petals hoary.
If you should find one in the woods and turn it so that the head is down and the stem up, you will see that it looks like an Indian pipe, and so it is called to this day. But in the woods where they are often seen clustered together, they appear to be little gray People sitting in long council.
Now after the Great Spirit had changed the quarreling Indians into flowers and set them out in the forest, he noticed that the smoke from their pipes still hung heavy in the air above the place where the council had been. So he gathered up the smoke and draped it over the mountains as a reminder. And he left it there until such time as all Men shall learn to live peace together.
We are having a lovely day here on top! We are finally getting some minutes of sunshine! Chris and Allyson have safely returned to the mountain. We think they brought the sun with them from down below. Hopefully, they left the heat down there though. Yesterday was slightly cooler; it topped out at 63. There was not very much temperature variance over the course of the day in that it only dropped 5 degrees overnight to 58. I will be heading off the mountain tomorrow for some rest and relaxation and Allyson will be taking back over. I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week and I will see you all next month!
Last night it would have been appropriate to take a kayak down the mountain. We had a torrential downpour that left us with over 3" of rain for the day. There was water running everywhere! Some of the creek crossings were rather difficult to navigate last night, but hopefully by now the water has dropped much lower.
It was slightly cooler yesterday, reaching only 68. As of now, it seems it will stay about that today with the help of the heavy cloud cover. I heard rain chances all day and into tomorrow. Be careful and prepared when getting out today. I hope everyone has a wonderful start to their week. We had a great weekend here on the mountain!
Another warm day on the mountain filled with showers later in the day: it's summer! If only we could get some sunshine now! We reached the lower 70s yesterday but the humidity made it feel much warmer. The showers brought us almost an inch of rain. Then, overnight it only dropped into the upper 50s. To continue my theme of the last few days, I would like to share another flower photo with you today.
The weekend has arrived! We are hoping for nicer weather but as always this time of year there's a chance for rain, especially in the afternoon. We had 1.82" of rain yesterday. There were some nice showers in the afternoon and a huge downpour around sunset. We reached an amazing 70 degrees yesterday and only dropped into the 50s overnight.
Daybreak greeted us with a few more clouds this morning; however, we can be thankful that we were not socked in entirely. They are calling for another very warm day with chances of thunderstorms. We enjoyed a nice day on the mountain yesterday. Temperatures rose to 72 despite the afternoon rain showers. Overall, it turned out to be a very nice day. Last night the temperature dropped surprisingly low to around 40.
The flowers are in full bloom on the mountain. The vibrant crimson bee balm interspersed amongst the tall yellow cone flowers creates a beautiful dappling of color. The wait has been well worth it.
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