Good morning from our favorite mountain top. We had a nice day yesterday. The high was 58º with a low of 46º. Ruthie will be on her way down shortly to help out in the office. Yes, it is that time of year when the phone will be ringing off the hook and people will pushing redial like it was a button on their favorite video game. Take a deep breath and keep dialing. You know it will be worth it. We certainly appreciate your time and energy. We love seeing all of the friendly faces at the top of the mountain.
Fall is in the air around here. The weather is wonderful and we are starting to see a little bit of color on the few trees we have that change. I hear there is some color a little lower on the mountain. Won't be long before the leaves start showing off for us.
We are still getting reports of bear activity around the mountain. Please remember, do not leave your personal belongings alone. Pretend you are at an airport and keep them with you at all times. If you are staying at the lodge, keep everything in your cabin. It is that time of year when the bears are wandering around trying to find food and a warm bed for the winter. We don't want them to try out our beds. We just have to make sure they keep moving on.
These sightings have been just that, sightings. The bear gets spooked and runs off into the woods. That is the way we want to keep it.
I wasn't going to post another sunrise, but today was so epic, I just had to share. Once again, we are sitting on top of the world. I am sorry to the folks who are underneath the cloud layer. It is gorgeous up here. Hopefully it will be a repeat of yesterdays temperatures. The high was 64º with a low of 45º.
For those of you who asked, Chris is still hanging out around camp, bringing his humor to everyone he meets. He keeps the crew laughing on a daily basis. They say laughter will keep you healthy and live to a nice old age. I should live a really long time. This year the jokes on the crew have turned around and are now aimed at Chris. For the longest time, he and different crew members would having a scaring contest. Well, this year, I decided to get back at him for all of the past crew members who could never seem to get him to jump. I find it particularly funny to walk quietly into the kitchen, before sunrise, and just stand at the edge of the lamp light. He is usually so busy getting the coffee ready, he doesn't notice me. I have gotten a few good screams and jumps. I tell him that I am the karma disperser. Now he thinks I am lurking around every corner. So, for all of you past crew members, don't you worry. I've got you covered.
What a way to start my day. Sipping coffee next to my heater and watching the sun come up over High Top. I want these to be the images I think back on when I am older and reminiscing about my days on Mt. LeConte. People ask me all the time, "What is the craziest thing you have witnessed while being at the lodge?" It is so hard to pin point. Unfortunately, a lot of the tales involve folks not thinking things through. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you have noticed certain days I will mention safety issues while hiking. These posts are usually brought on by issues we have faced at the lodge. People, in general, don't think about the "what if's". I am all for being adventurous, but I like to do my research and think things through. You would be amazed at how many folks do not do this and we end up helping them out of tight spots. I like to think that it will be a learning situation for them.
We have seen all types of hikers on this mountain from Roman soldiers dressed in the full attire, to big foot, and a lady who hiked in platform sandals. I had a crew member hike Trillium trail at night dressed in a coffee sack he had brought back from Africa. There are some other stories I don't think need to be repeated. We have seen a lot over the past twelve years and I know our General Manager, Tim Line, has seen even more over his 30 plus years at the lodge.
Like I said at the beginning, it is a beautiful day up top. The high yesterday was 61º with a low of 44º. It is going to be a perfect weekend for hiking. Come on up and see us.
"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
What a gorgeous day for a wedding. The bride and groom, surrounded by loved ones, hiked to Grassy Ridge in Roan Mountain State Park. The clouds lifted and the wedding began. It was one of the most picturesque weddings I have ever been too. Alan and Chrissy may be one of the best examples of love found at LeConte Lodge. These two live life to the fullest. The magic of Mt. LeConte never ceases to amaze me when it comes to bringing people together. I am so happy they found a life long hiking partner in each other. Congratulations, Chrissy and Alan. We love you and wish you a life full of happiness.
Chris and I returned to the mountain on Tuesday and were greeted with cool breezes and beautiful fall weather. The days are perfect. It won't be long before we start seeing color in the higher elevations. Fall is the in the air. The high yesterday was 64º with a low of 43º.
Ruthie mentioned the snickerdoodle-off. She was right when she said we all won. That was a very hard competition. Both cookies were amazing. With a close 4-3 vote, Chris pulled off another victory in the Iron Chef-LeConte competition. He is 4-0. Over the years he has won the chocolate chip cookie bake-off, the brownie bake-off, and the ulitmate Grinder competition. He can now add best snickerdoodle to the list. Good job Lesley and Chris. The crew really appreciated the hard work you both put into this. Now, let's find another bake-off subject. It is a win-win for all of us.
Good afternoon to you. This is Nathan filling in on High on LeConte duties as Allyson is attending the big wedding (more on that later). We've been swapping up writing a lot lately, so I can't say for sure who'll do Tuesday's update. I'm going to try to persuade William Faulkner to write a long-distance guest appearance.
Sunday turned out to be gray all the way through with a high of 63 and low of 37 early this morning. We didn't get much rain, however, just 0.16 of an inch. The weather story today was the return of real September weather. I'd bragged earlier in the month about how September is one of the nicest weather months on LeConte. That prompted us to receive rain 13 of September's 22 days to date. However, today is bluebird beautiful with a favorable forecast most of the week.
The biggest news of the day is the wedding of Chrissy and Alan Householder, our llama wranglers. We've been trying to blow some of these beautiful conditions into the skies over their ceremony. There are some LeConte Lodge folks attending. However, no llamas RSVPd. A llama would make some kind of interesting ring bearer, but it was not to be. In fact, some of the llamas came up to see us and deliver clean sheets today. Tom Gage, our backup llama wrangler, will be leading the teams up this week while Alan and Chrissy concentrate on wedding business.
I don't have details about the ceremony, but I hope it turned out to be a joyous day for everyone. I even made a "wedding biscuit" this morning for the mountain staff, as that's as close as we're going to get to eating wedding cake. Others celebrated in different ways. David Scanlon, who is closing in on 1,000 hikes to LeConte, chose to add a rock of honor to the top of High Top. Literally and figuratively, Mt. LeConte stands a little higher today in honor of Chrissy and Alan.
Alan and Chrissy have done such a nice job taking care of the needs of our guests and staff over the years. Those of us who remained up top to keep the lodge open wish Chrissy and Alan the best and hope this day is every bit as rewarding as they dreamed. I've been fortunate enough to see fine people meet up here at LeConte and plot the rest of their lives together. Happy trails.
I knew you all wouldn't let me down. Thanks for the beautiful proverbs and poems. It is obvious, through your words, how special Mt. LeConte is to so many people. I have been asked a lot lately if Chris and I will still visit LeConte. I am not sure if people know this, but Chris and I own a home in Gatlinburg. I have called Sevier county my home since 1997. We bought a house about a mile from the Park boundary over four years ago. We love living so close to the Park. We will take advantage of our location and visit our favorite mountain as much as possible. We are also looking forward to exploring parts of the Park we have not been to in a long time.
We were lucky enough to get out to Myrtle Point yesterday.
It was a gorgeous day for a little nap at our favorite point. The mountain was busy with hikers, as I imagine today will be. The high was 64º with a low of 46º. Chris and I will be hiking off the mountain in the morning to attend the nuptials of our two favorite llama wranglers. Chrissy and Alan will be tying the knot Monday morning. I will have photos when I return. In the meantime, Ruthie is making her way back to the mountain, so you will be hearing from her soon.
“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart” - Eskimo Proverb
I liked the proverb above, but I think we need a LeConte Proverb. How about "May you have Tang in your juice glass, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart" . I am sure you fellow LeConte Fans will come up with some good ones to keep us entertained for the day.
We are ready for another day on the mountain. The weather is perfect and I am sure the hikers will be taking advantage of this fall like weather. The high yesterday was 65º with a low of 44º. There is a definite chill in the air. Talk of snow has been heard around the dinner table. It is always fun for the crew to try and guess the first snow fall of the fall. I am guessing October 13th. But, what do I know?
We ended the day the same way started, with our head above the clouds. The inversion lasted all day. We had a beautiful sunny day on top of the mountain. Someone asked what kind of conditions are necessary for an inversion to occur, I am not sure of the answer. We have seen them in every month. We experienced a warmer day yesterday. The high was 66º with a low of 44º. So far, we are starting out with a sunny day again today.
I did the math and figured out I only have 45 more working days on the mountain. It is hard to believe how fast this season is going by. I think back on all of the amazing trips Chris and I have been able to take because we had the winters off. We have been to New Zealand, Costa Rica, Panama, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tanzania, all over the United States, and finally Hawaii. After all of our travels, it always felt like we were returning home when we hiked up for the new season each March. I don't know that the next chapter in our lives will sink in until March when the crew returns to the mountain with out us. I read the comments and hear people say how the mountain has gotten in their blood. I guess I could say that after twelve seasons, the mountain has gotten in my soul.
After being in the clouds all day yesterday, it was a treat to watch the sun rise this morning with a nice pillow of clouds covering the valley below. I will say that cloud inversions are one of my favorite images to witness on the mountain. It makes me want to take a stroll across the cotton like ocean. Better yet, a nap would be marvelous. No time for naps today. It is going to be a busy day up top for the crew.
Our fellow employee, Ruthie, lost her grandmother on Saturday. She hiked down to spend time with her family during this time of mourning. Her grandmother had a wonderful 99 1/2 years surrounded by loved ones. We send our sympathy and prayers to Ruthie's family.
Time to get the table set for breakfast. It is a chilly morning. The high yesterday was 57º with a low of 44º. If you are hiking up to spend the night, don't forget your layers. You will want them for the evenings.
Chris and I made it back to work and back to the fall temperatures. The high yesterday was 60º with a low of 49º. There was a chill in the air for most of the day. We did get a nice ending for a day filled with cloud coverage. The sky opened up and made for a beautiful sunset.
With only 70 days in the countdown, I am starting to reminisce. Someone asked us where we were going this winter. I had to chuckle a little as I said, "Gatlinburg and our little production facility we built for our new business."
No far away countries with amazing beaches and fruity drinks for us this winter. We will put our nose to the grindstone and work, work, work. Matt and Rachel came back last night with the giddy feeling one gets after purchasing tickets to Thailand for the winter. I remember it well. Our first winter off the mountain took us to New Zealand for two months. We hiked, kayaked, and looked for the elusive kiwi bird, which we never found. We made some great memories and will have stories to tell for decades. With all the excitement of far away places, it still felt like home when we hiked back up the mountain the next March to start our second season on our favorite 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!