We watched some wicked clouds move across the sky last night. It sounded like a bowling alley as the storms moved in. We saw 3.3" of rain over night. Once again, I am advising to not take Rainbow Falls trail if you are hiking up today. There will be a lot of runoff coming down the mountain which will make for a tricky creek crossing on that trail. We are currently socked in and the forecast is calling for more thunderstorms. If you are hiking up today, remember your rain gear or poncho. It was a warmer day yesterday with a high of 69º and a low of 51º. You could feel the thickness in the air as the humidity settled in with the rain clouds moving in.
The snake root is taking over the hillside. That means summer is coming to an end. This delicate flower takes over the flower beds as the cone flowers start to die off. I forgot how hard it is to get a close up of a flower when the wind is blowing. It has been cloudy and windy this morning, the good news is as I am typing the sun is trying to burn off some of the cloud coverage. The high yesterday was 64º with a low of 53º. It turned out to be a gorgeous day. Hopefully we will have a repeat today.
The crew is excited, we have passed the 100 days left in the season mark. We have 98 days left. The best thing is that all of the crew is still here and they are playing well with each other. We may live on a mountain top, but it is still pretty tight quarters. That is why you hear me refer to the crew as family. There is not a whole lot we don't learn about each other. With that being said, we have made friends, through out the years, that will be in our lives forever. All because of Mt. LeConte.
Yesterday was a very wet day. We saw another 1" of rain and we stayed in the clouds the whole day. The high was 63º and the low was 53º. The trails are slick so remember to take it slow. My other word of caution is to not step on the water bars. Water bars are the logs that the park service uses to divert the rain away from the trail. You will find them laying across the trail at a slight angle. Over the past twelve years, I have seen a lot of injuries due to hikers stepping on these logs and slipping. They are extremely slick when wet. These legs do their job well and keep the trail from washing away, just step over them and you will be fine. Wet days like this require extra vigilance. We are starting out with a repeat of yesterday. The clouds are laying low and there is a mist in the air. Remember your rain jacket and take it nice and slow. We will see you at the top.
Wow, I slept so hard I didn't even hear the 2.7" of rain that fell last night. Apparently we are in for another round later this morning. If I were hiking up today, I would not take Rainbow Falls trail. Once again, with large amounts of rain, the trail tends to be impassable. We are currently experiencing heavy cloud coverage and a lot of wind. I am predicting a slow day around the lodge. The high yesterday was 63º with a low of 54º. The cooler temperatures seem to be settling in.
I had a couple of interesting conversations yesterday. It never ceases to amaze me how different the mountain top can be from season to season. I was commenting on the lack of turtlehead flowers and turk's cap lillies. I have not seen a single one around the lodge. The really interesting bit of information is that they could come back next year stronger than ever. The other conversation I had was with a guest about the absence of the bird called a Veery. I always sing back to them when I hear them and I don't recall hearing them at all this season. I wonder where they are? The other change I have noticed is the absence of the Indian Pipe flower on the flat section of Alum Cave trail. The forest, in that section, has changed so much over the past few years that it is no longer a good host for these amazing little flowers. We have seen them on Trillium. There are still some perfect areas for them to thrive on the upper section.
Remember, if you are hiking up today, bring a rain jacket and a dry shirt. It is going to be a wet day for hiking. We will have plenty of hot chocolate waiting for you at the top.
The mix of red, yellows, and purples caught my eye as I walked out the dining room door last night. There is even a touch of white with the snake root starting to bloom. The flowers will be coming to an end in the next week or so. Then we move on to black berry season. I am hoping my last season up here proves to be a good year for black berries. You just never know what nature is going to produce. Some of the crew members have hiked down to Brushy Mountain and found some there. I would say within the next couple of weeks we will see them in the upper elevations.
The weather is still magnificent. I am not sure what the high was yesterday. Our weather box seems to be having some difficulties. I know I looked at the screen at one point and it said 60º. What ever it was, it was perfect. The amount of guests has dropped off. We can tell schools are starting back. This is the time of year we get more couples than families. There will be a little break before the fall craziness begins.
"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning."-
J. B. Priestley
Morning has arrived in full splendor. We were excited to see the beautiful sunrise this morning. It adds energy to the day. Not that we need much energy. The weekend is just about here and that will make for a lot of activity around the lodge. All though, yesterday was quite active. The cooler temperatures are bringing hikers out of the woods and into the dining room where the hot chocolate is flowing. The high yesterday was 59º with a low of 43º.
It is going to be a fantastic weekend to day hike to the top and you don't even have to worry about missing a football game.
Having been up here for 12 years, I have seen a lot. I do not recall meeting a 2 year old who can claim to have hiked the entire Alum Cave trail on their own. Well, I can now. Kira Mayhew tackled the trail with her dad and sister in tow. I got a glimpse of the competitive future of the family when her parents told me her sister hiked the entire way at the age of three. The hike took 8 hours and there was even a 40 minute hammock nap in the mix. I think I will take cue and start adding a hammock nap into my hikes up and down the mountain. That sounds delightful.
Way to go Kira. I wonder what other records you will you tackle when you get older. She didn't have much to say to me this morning, she was busy carbo loading for the trip down.
It feels like we are in store for another cool, crisp "fall" day. The high yesterday was only 60º with a low of 43º. The sky is blue and the clouds are resting in the valley below. It is a great day for a hike.
We want to thank our pal Larry for hiking up a bushel of peaches. In less than 24 hours, the crew has polished off over 2/3 of them. Someone might have mistaken us for a pack of hyenas feasting on a carcass. They were delicious and much appreciated. This morning, I sat at the picnic table and looked out over the valley while eating that fantastic peach. I had a brief moment of quiet reflection and appreciation for the many years I have been allowed to call this mountain home.
Good morning from the top of the mountain. It has turned out to be a beautiful day up top. We awoke to cloud coverage and mist, but that has moved on out. The high yesterday was 64º with a low of 45º. The days are starting to feel like autumn weather around here. I keep expecting to see the leaves turning. We are still looking at amazing flowers all around the lodge. The closed purple gentian is showing well on the upper section of Alum Cave trail. This time of year is one of my favorites. The trails clear out a little and the colors fade from bright yellows, purples, pinks, greens, and whites, to orange, yellow, and red. The llamas love this cooler weather. They can start growing their winter coats again.
If there were ever a perfect example of a humid day, it was yesterday. I was so thankful I filled my water bladder to full capacity. I downed almost 3 liters of water on the way up the mountain. I could feel the thickness in the air. The humidity finally gave way to evening storms. We reported .76 inches of rain for our overnight rainfall. Our sky lights were lighting up like a strobe light. The high for yesterday was 68º with a low of 54º. It felt a lot warmer than that.
Chris and I were happy to return to our favorite mountain. Our favorite flower is in full bloom. I am in awe of the intricate design of the Grass of Parnassus. It is such a beautiful display of beauty. They are in full glory on the upper section of Alum Cave trail. I will have to make a trip down Trillium to see them around the rock wall. If you are hiking up any time soon, make a point to stop and check them out. You won't be disappointed.
Good afternoon to everyone. If you're planning a trip up and trying to figure your packing, our high-low from Sunday was 63-56 with 0.52 inches of rain. We kept hearing distant rumbles of thunder before supper, but the storm never made it to the summit of LeConte. Today has been a mixed bag of clouds, some limited sunshine and a few light showers.
In critter news, crew members Nicholette and Brad saw a rattlesnake on down the Bullhead Trail a week or so ago. The serpent was coiled on the uphill side and announced his displeasure at having to share Bullhead Trail. They gave him plenty of room and descended without incident. While you're extremely unlikely to see a snake at the lodge (I never have in four years), this is a time of the year you might see them on the approach trail.
Finally, we enjoyed a heavenly showing last night at the lodge. About 9:40 p.m., the "supermoon" put on a spectacular sight. Crew members Pat, Jeanie, Matt and I all marveled at how beautiful the full moon looked as it climbed into the sky above High Top.
I don't think I've seen a brighter, more beautiful moon in four years of working on LeConte. I'm grateful I took a break from doing sales reports and took in a sight I'll remember a long time as the moon waded through the thin clouds crowning the mountain. Pat and Jeanie shared their binoculars to reveal impact craters on the moon.
I kept thinking about how awesome the moon must look to someone driving on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, reflecting off the walls of the cliffs of Zion National Park and wondered if the spray of Yellowstone's Old Faithful rose up to meet the supermoon. But I never lost sight of how wonderful all that reflected light shone on top of Ole' Smoky.
Allyson has returned from off days, so I'll be turning High on LeConte duties back over to her. It seems like I met even more of you readers than usual during this managing stint. Thanks for stopping by. 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!