It is that time of the year when the temperatures are unpredictable. As I reported the other day, we went from 71 to the low 40's. Yesterday we went from 65 to 54. You have to plan for unpredictable when you hike in the Smokies. You never know what you are going to get. We had some rain showers yesterday. They moved out in time to enjoy a beautiful sunset. I snapped these pics for you to enjoy.
Last night was also the annual "Crew Progressive Dinner". We try and do some fun activities for the staff so the season goes by a little quicker. Each crew member picked a course and planned a dish. They made the dishes and then we walked from room to room and enjoyed what they created. It was a great evening. I wanted to show a picture I took of John's course. He, of course, signed up for dessert. John loves ice cream. He decided to make us home made vanilla ice cream with an assortment of toppings. We were so full by the time the time the dessert course came around, we all had little bowls. Not John! He saved room.
I hate to think what kind of crazy dreams he had last night. Going to sleep on a stomach full of ice cream and candy makes for some interesting sleep.
A 30 degree difference once the sun went down. Our high yesterday was 71 with a low of 41. We had our first bear make a full blown appearance in camp. He was a yearling just looking for food. We have also had reports of bear activity on Alum. For the first time in my nine years up top, the park closed LeConte shelter due to bear activity. The report I received was a wide spread problem with bear activity in the park. The lack of food in the park has raised some concern for higher then normal bear activity. Please make sure if you visit the park that you dispose of any trash in the proper manner. Remember a fed bear is a dead bear. I had no problems scaring the bear away in camp. We yelled and threw rocks and he scampered off. Remember to act big, yell, shake trees, and throw rocks (not your pack) at the bears and they will leave.
The cone flowers are starting to die off and the snake root is coming alive. Chrissy checked on the blackberries yesterday. They are still a couple of weeks away from prime picking. The temperatures are still in the 60's during the day and low 50's to upper 40's at night. There is a definite chill in the air. Fall is just around the corner. I have been asked about the fall colors on the mountain. We don't see as much color change up top. The places you are going to experience it is while hiking up. You will usually start seeing color changes half way down the mountain in early October. The peak color depends on the weather. Most of the time it is the later part of October. I have seen it as late as early November. These are the best estimates I can give you.
Hanging out waiting on the llamas to arrive is a regular occurrence on the mountain. Wednesdays are like Christmas. We haven't had fresh fruit and veggies for a week and we are ready. The llamas also bring up our mail. That is always fun. It is like being at summer camp for 8 1/2 months. Good times when you get a package full of goodies. The llamas come up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They usually arrive around 12 pm and head back down around 2:30 pm. They get to enjoy their alfalfa pellets, biscuits, and pancakes while they are hanging out up top.
Continuing our tour of camp, next stop, the incinerator. This is where we burn our trash. The aluminum and glass is separated and taken off of the mountain. We then have to burn all of our food scraps. This guarantees the bears do not get into the trash. If you look closely, you will notice a wire wrapping around the area that encloses the incinerator. That is our electric fence. It is a strong deterrent for Mr. Bear. The object is to keep the bears out of the trash and into the blackberries.
For those of you who asked about the temperatures I have been reporting. I reported a low of 32 on Monday. We are not 100% sure our thermometer is reading correctly. There was no notable frost that morning. We read our electronic thermometer this morning and it read 27 degrees. The outdoor thermometer read 34 degrees. It was in the low 60's yesterday. Even if the thermometers are not reading correctly, it is still pretty cold at night. If you are scheduled to hike up anytime soon, make sure you bring heavier layers for the evening.
Gorgeous morning on the mountain. It feels like fall with the cool, crisp air and bright blue sky. I took a picture of our pump house for you. This is where the water pump is housed. We have three types of water pumps for the lodge. The first one is a ram pump. It runs when we are getting a heavy amount of rain. It works off of the water flow. We have a gas powered water pump for the times we are not getting much rain or sun. The last one is a solar powered pump. It works off of the solar panels. The solar pump is great because it cuts out noise pollution. So far this summer, we have not had to use any other pump. The sun created enough power to run the pump for the past few months.
Hi Folks! Sorry I went MIA for a few days and took Meredith with me. We took a girls trip and went to a hoop dance workshop. We learned all kinds of new skills to practice during our time off on the mountain. We hiked down Wednesday night after dinner. Five minutes after being on the trail, we scared a bear which in return scared us. The little guy rolled down the hillside. Sorry Mr. Bear.
Anyway, after a few days of learning all kinds of fun stuff to do with my hula hoop, I hiked back today. Wow, what a change. The low last night was 32 and the temperature was 49 when I got up top. It is a bit on the chilly side. The flowers are still going strong. It won't be long before the blackberries are coming in strong.
These dedicated crew members make three trips up the mountain per week ~ rain or shine ~ and never complain! Thank you for your hard work!
The beauty of the mountain never fails to amaze us! It is a priceless gift to enjoy time and time again.
I woke up this morning to a chill in the air and a bright orange object in the sky. The sun is out and the sky is clear. It is going to be a gorgeous day on the mountain. There have been sightings of a yearling bear around camp. I am sure he is trying to find some form of food. Hopefully he was just passing through. Chris hung out by our incinerator and took some great pictures of the Crossbill Finches. For some reason they love hanging out down there.
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!