Feeling more like winter, This morning it was 13 when waking up. I think it would be safe to say that some sort of ice stabilizers/insteps/yaktraks are necessary for hiking the rest of the winter.
Happy Holidays from the crew at LeConte Lodge. See you in 2011.
The last full day of the season. It is kind of like Christmas eve when you are five. The day seems to last forever and you can 't stand it because you want tomorrow morning to get here quickly. The crew is all giddy and ready for their "summer" break. We had a great season and we have a at least half of the crew returning next season. It has been fantastic seeing all of the guests on the mountain this year. I have enjoyed my interactions with all of you on the blog. Thank you for tuning in and staying in touch. I look forward to my return in March. I may surprise you and hijack Alex's post every now and again. I will let you know if Chris and I do any cool hikes in the Smokies this winter. Take care and have a wonderful holiday and safe winter.
Meet Alex. He is going to be the winter caretaker for the next 3 1/2 months. The crew will hike down Wednesday and Alex will begin sharing the mountain with you on Friday. Alex worked as crew in 2008 and part of 2009. He has spent the last 2 years on the seasonal staff for Camp Denali in Denali National Park. He is looking forward to his time at LeConte this winter.
Yesterdays weather was excellent. The high was 43 with a low of 37. It looks like we will be getting another nice day today. We are hoping this weather will last long enough to get us down the mountain on Wednesday.
I apologize for not posting anything earlier today. I have been up since 5:30 this morning getting ready for our annual "Crew Thanksgiving Dinner". This is our last big meal as a "LeConte Family". The crew is getting packed up and anticipating the arrival of Wednesday. Our summer break is coming soon. Today is looking like another amazing day. The high yesterday was 44 with a low of 34. The snow is mostly gone and the ice on the trails has turned to slush.
After 15 seasons, Henry Neel has decided it is time to retire. Henry has been the Assistant Manager for many of those years. He feels that it is time to get out and play while he has some play left in him. I am sure Henry will not be a stranger. I have a feeling we will see him on quite a few occasions up top.
So I will say "Here's to you, Sergeant First Class Neel. The mountain will miss you."
As for the weather. The high yesterday was 43 with a low of 28. Another beautiful day up top. The snow is slowly disappearing. It looks like we might have an uneventful close to the season. That is just the way I like it.
We seemed to have missed the storm system that was supposed bring us more snow. The clouds moved out and the sun was out all day. The high yesterday was 39 with a low of 26. The day is promising to be another beautiful day today.
The skies are cloudy and it is looking like rain or snow for today. The high yesterday never reached above 32. The low last night was 21. Any snow that melted yesterday is now a sheet of ice. I urge anyone that is hiking up today to please have ice walkers. The last quarter mile of Alum is very slick. Be careful and be safe. We will see you up top.
Chris and I had a great hike up the mountain. The weather is beautiful. Alum Cave trail was in great shape until the very top. We reached ice on the last quarter of a mile to the top. We had our "Stabilicers" ( ice walkers ) on for the last part of the trail. The temperature up top is a warm 31 degrees. There is about an inch of fresh snow on the ground. The sun is helping to melt some of it. I am sure it will refreeze tonight. The forecast is calling for more snow tomorrow night.
For those of you who emailed me wanting to know about our race, here are the results. We did run the Chichamauga Battlefield Marathon in Georgia. Chris ran his first full in 5:44. I ran my first half in 3:08. It is safe to say we are hooked. We have signed up for another half in February and my first full marathon in April. We did train on the mountain. I will say that training at 6500 feet is great. The small section of trail we ran was not so great. If you hiked up this summer and witnessed two fools running back and forth, now you know what we were training for.
It was an even warmer day yesterday. The high was 59. The crew pulled out their summer clothes and enjoyed the sunshine. The low last night was 36. We still have a few inches of snow on the ground.
I will be hiking down for my days off. Chris and I have been training for our first marathon. I will be running a half and Chris will be running a whole. Saturday is the big day to see if all of the training has paid off. We will be back next week to close out the season. The winter caretaker should be around by then and I will pass the torch. (or camera)
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