Hello to all of you. We've been hemmed in some thick clouds thus far today, but haven't seen any rain as of 2:30 p.m. It's been a quiet couple of days on the mountain, seasoned with some friendly guests. It's a little bit of a slow news day on LeConte. You'll be glad to know that all the trails are still passable without using ice or snow traction devices (though you may occasionally need a kayak).
All jokes aside, this season we have had a few tough situations for hikers on the Rainbow Falls Trail after a heavy rain on top of the mountain. While the ground remains saturated, I'd probably reroute using a different trail if there's a good chance of rain and leave Rainbow Falls Trail until a sunny forecast favors you.
In other trail news, I know Allyson mentioned this a few days ago but it will affect a great many of our hikers. The Park Service has advised us that the upper parking lot of the Alum Cave Bluff Trailhead will be closed from Aug. 26-Sept. 13 for improvements. The lower parking lot (where the restrooms are located) should still be open, but expect spots to be at a premium during peak times, especially during the busy Labor Day weekend.
We got a few glimpses of the sun yesterday, though most of the day stayed cloudy with bouts of showers. We ended up with 0.18 inches of rain, though some people hiking up in it scoffed at that measurement. I was glad the weather broke for a while after supper, allowing our guests some sunset color and a chance to peer down into the valley. We topped out at 63 degrees with a low of 51 Tuesday.
I noticed a question about the flowers around the lodge in the comments following yesterday's post. The rain has made for an outstanding season for our flowers up top. I'd say we're moving just past peak for flower viewing. There's still plenty of color to see and should be for at least the next week.
Have a fine day. Happy trails.
Good afternoon to all of you High on LeConte readers. This is Nathan, and I'll be filling in for Allyson for a few days.
Yesterday's high reached only 59 with a low of 50. I returned from off days with a gentle rain accompanying me up the mountain. We totaled 0.65 of an inch of rain at the lodge.
As for the weather today, we awoke to a beautiful morning. We even had some crew members wake up a little early to scare up an extra cup of coffee and enjoy looking at the valley below before breakfast shift started. A cloud enveloped us around lunch, which was soon followed by rain showers, prompting one crew member who had the afternoon shift off (and visions of sunning at Myrtle Point) to offer, "Why does Mother Nature hate us?" As of 2 p.m., it's still pretty cloudy but no longer raining. I think, based on no scientific information whatsoever, that we're paying dues this summer for a beautiful autumn atop Mt. LeConte.
As I mentioned earlier, I hiked back up from off days yesterday. Three days of homegrown, fresh fried okra made my ascent time feel a lot slower than it actually was (but it was worth it). I also noticed some color on a precious few of the blackberries along Alum Cave Bluff Trail. Most of the blackberries are still green as a gourd, but a few are taking on pink and purple hues as they ripen. That transitional ripening color is best manifested this time of year in the bruises of Saturday morning's slow-moving high school football players--a pink and purple reminder of a rock 'em, sock 'em Friday night showdown with county bragging rights on the line.
I was visiting with some of our guests this morning and heard something that pleased all of us who work at the lodge. A father, who brought his family up to LeConte Lodge last year for the first time, was relaying the family discussion about where to take their vacation this year. The finalists appeared to be a trip to the beach or a return engagement up our fine mountain. His son voted for LeConte, saying, "Dad, I had a better time up there than I did at the beach." That's a good thing to hear, and we're also glad you came back to see us.
I hope you all will come back to see us, too. The forecast, always entertaining, looks better long term than it has in a while. Happy trails.
Wow, there is a valley below. I was beginning to wonder. The clouds seem to be thinning out. It could be a beautiful day up top. The sun teased us for about 15 minutes yesterday, then it rained the rest of the day. The high yesterday was 60º with a low of 51º. We are trying to keep our spirits up around here. We are hurting for power so my "happy light" gets sacrificed. That does not help the attitude. I am sure the crew would peddle a bike to generate power for me to have my "happy light". I am visioning a Gilligan's Island episode. I will be fine in a few hours. Chris and I are heading off the mountain for a few days. We are going to spend some time with our nieces and nephews. There is a trip to Dollywood and a rafting trip in our future. Should be a fun filled week. I know there will be a smile on my face when I watch Chris ride the Wild Eagle roller coaster.
This little guy was playing hide and seek in the field of cone flowers. He was very careful not to go to far from mom. She was keeping a close eye on me. We ended up having a pretty nice day yesterday. The sun would come in and out and tease us. Some how we ended up missing the rain. I am thinking we are not going to be so lucky today. The high yesterday was 61º with a low of 45º.
The park service asked us to pass along the following information. The upper lot at the Alum Cave parking lot will be closed from August 26th- September 13th. They will be paving the lot and adding spaces. The lower lot, near the bathroom, is still open. If you have any questions regarding this information, please call the park service.
This little guy provided the crew with a little entertainment. They really wanted him to be on the blog, so they took a couple of minutes and caught him for his photo opportunity. I think he was wishing we had taken the photo in front of the lodge with the date. I was just worried that he was going to jump at me while I was holding the camera next to him. It all worked out and he was returned to his home. I did learn the difference between a bullfrog and regular green frog. If you are wondering, check out this site. He is a bullfrog. Soon after Jeremiah was released, the sun went away. It did not last very long. The sun did help warm us up to a nice 65º with a low last night of 45º. We are back in the clouds today and looking like more rain in our future.
What a sight to behold. Watching the sun come up over the horizon never grows old. We did see a little bit of sun yesterday. I had enough to charge the computer and submit a post. The sun quickly hid behind the clouds. We are hoping for a little longer visit today. So far, so good. I think fall came in while we were covered in clouds. It was a chilly day up top. The high was 55º with a low of 48º. Don't forget to bring those layers if you are hiking up to stay the night.
We finally got enough sunshine to charge some of our batteries. I have enough juice on my laptop to post a short entry. I know, I know, all of my entries are short. We are getting bits and pieces of blue sky. It is a chilly day up top. The current temperature is 55º. The high yesterday was 60º with a low of 50º. We have heard tale of a problem bear around the top of the mountain. It seems to have an ear tag which indicates it could be one of our juvenile bears from past seasons. I hope it doesn't get into anything and makes its way down the mountain. It has been seen sniffing around the shelter. No signs in camp as of yet. We hope to keep it that way.
Good morning. Allyson can't post today as the Lodge is sitting in a cloudy soup. No electronics are working. No sun, no batteries, no computer, so she asked the office to post. The high/low yesterday was 65 and 57. I am starting to see some blue skies in the valley so hopefully the mounta
Despite the reports of heavy rainfall for yesterday, Chris and I managed to have a dry hike back to work. I say dry, that is only if you don't count the fact that we were soaked with sweat. I went through two liters of water in no time. It was extremely humid for the jaunt up the hill. The high on the mountain was 66º with a low of 58º. We did not get to see the meteor shower last night due to heavy cloud coverage. We will keep our fingers crossed for tonight.
After searching through the thick vegetation, I managed to find some of the pink turtlehead flowers. There are not as many around camp as there have been in the past. I did notice the grass of parnassus and the purple gentian is starting to bloom on the upper section of Alum Cave trail. They are making their debut early this season.
Good afternoon. I hope all of you had an enjoyable weekend. Thanks to those of you who spent your weekend with us. I've got a lot of news to cover, so I'll jump in.
Saturday's temperatures ranged from 55 to 67 degrees. Our heavy showers accounted for 0.62 inches of rain yesterday, but the duration of the rain wasn't that long. Most of Sunday has been cloudy, but we've seen a few light sprinkles and rare glimpses of the sun through 2:30 p.m.
I wanted to introduce you to Chuck Korbel, our youngest packing llama. Chuck arrived at the farm last winter from Roanoke, Va., but has quickly worked his way to becoming a valuable member of the LeConte string.
Llama wrangler Chrissy, whose parents named the new arrival Chuck, reports that because he's new sometimes he gets a little nervous if he doesn't know what to expect next. She says that Chuck develops little bags under his eyes until he calms down and realizes he can handle the task at hand, then the bags disappear.
"At the beginning, Alan thought Chuck might be a little high maintenance, but he's turned out great," Chrissy said. "From the first day he started packing he walked in a straight line on the trail."
Llama wrangler Alan also offers praise for the rookie. "He's a good worker," Alan said. "He's more of a spitter than most. He's just young and thinks everyone's messing with him."
In other news, I received word from the Park Service that Greenbrier Road will be closed to foot, stock and vehicular traffic from Aug. 12-30 to replace several culverts. That shouldn't affect too many of our hikers because the Brushy Mountain Trail is without question the most lightly used of any of the six main trails to LeConte. For those of you unfamiliar with Brushy Mountain Trail, it shares the last 3.6 miles of the ascent to LeConte with the Trillium Gap Trail. Before it joins Trillium Gap Trail, Brushy Mountain Trail winds upward about 4.5 miles from the Greenbrier area of the park.
I hope we get a nice, clear night atop the mountain tonight because I read that the Perseid Meteor Shower will peak sometime before dawn Monday. I saw the 2010 Perseid display from the top of LeConte and was much impressed.
It was nice to see Phyllis, Mac, Tom and James on top of LeConte this afternoon. They're volunteering for the Park Service to stabilize the cribbing on front of the LeConte Shelter and build a door for its privy. The park is fortunate to have so many fine people willing to volunteer.
Speaking of fine volunteers, we were glad to welcome some descendants of the legendary David Crockett to stay with us last night. You'll be happy to know that all our bears are still in the land of the living. Col. Crockett ranks as my favorite Tennessean of all, and I'll be celebrating his birthday (Aug, 17, 1786) Saturday on my off days. As a native Tennessean, I welcome all of you -- regardless of ZIP code -- to turn off your cell phone, find a rocking chair, share some good stories and hoist a glass of sweet tea to David Crockett, the patron saint of the Tennessee high country.
Allyson and Chris should be back from off days tonight, so I'll turn the updates back over to her. Thanks for reading. Happy trails.
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!