If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these things, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature. Nature we have always with us, an inexhaustible storehouse of that which moves the heart, appeals to the mind, and fires the imagination - health to the body, a stimulus to the intellect, and joy to the soul. John Burroughs
It's another stunning morning up top. The mountain was in a cloud for the majority of yesterday evening, yet things have cleared out here and it is stunning in the morning light. The high yesterday reached 38 degrees. The overnight low was 24 degrees. It was 25 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is no snow remaining up top. I am sure the Boulevard and other trails have bits of snow in shady sections, so be prepared if you intend to summit. I am hoping the forecasts are correct and the mountain will wake up to a bit of snow tomorrow morning!
The mountain has had many more undercasts than I recall from past seasons. I do not know if there are any meteorology folks out there, but I'd be curious to know why this appears to have been the case so far this season. Whatever the reason for all these inversions, they are one of the more breathtaking aspects of life up top. I am grateful for their strange calm, they lend a truly otherwordly feel to my mornings. The clouds obscuring any signs of civilization make it easier for my imagination to run wild, allowing me to indulge in fantasies about being an intrepid explorer of some far away land. It's the little things. And who knows, maybe these inversions are an indicator of heavy January and February snows? A boy can dream.
It's a beautiful, cloudy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 40 degrees. The low was 24 degrees, recorded early yesterday morning. It is currently 30 degrees and partly cloudy up top. The mountain received .02" of rain yesterday and there is no snow remaining up top. The trails have a bit of black ice and are tricky in areas. Please be careful if you intend to summit!
It was another spectacular day to be a winter caretaker yesterday. I went for a stunning night hike up Alum yesterday evening. The woods were oh so silent and it was just clear enough to make out the primeval shapes and forms of the great mountains all around us. It is a beautiful simplicity, to have this all too grand world reduced to what your 2 oz, 100 lumen headlamp can unfurl from the seemingly forever darkness. I kept hoping to run into some of my bear or bobkitten neighbors, but alas, they appear to be forever out of grasp. As much as I yearn to meet my mountain neighbors and have a true and wild encounter, it is good to have things beyond your reach. It keeps you hungry. Curiosity is a kind of perfection.
I’m always inclined to believe that the best way of knowing [the divine] is to love a great deal. Love that friend, that person, that thing, whatever you like, you’ll be on the right path to knowing more thoroughly, afterwards; that’s what I say to myself. But you must love with a high, serious intimate sympathy, with a will, with intelligence, and you must always seek to know more thoroughly, better, and more. Van Gogh
It's another gorgeous, above the clouds morning up top. The high yesterday reached 34 degrees. The overnight low was 23 degrees. It was 24 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is no more snow remaining up top. It is pretty icy out right now, so be sure to pack some sort of traction devices if you intend to reach the summit! Enjoy the day!
I spent yesterday cruising along with my friend Becca, trying to see what I haven't yet seen this season. We went out early on the Boulevard trail (which still has plenty of patches of snow) and revelled in the wonderful ridge walk. We had a short lunch at Icewater Springs, then went out to Charlie's Bunion. How folks climb up that off trail, I have no idea. We hiked back towards the Jump Off, which unfortunately, had no view whatsoever. You could still feel the depth of that great space, an abyss that chills you to the core.
It is so rejuvenating to be reminded of how spectacular my backyard is. There is just so much to see, especially on such a characteristically Smokies day - alternating between long, clear views and walking through dense clouds... these woods just scream character and depth. I can't wait to get to know them even better. We were made for one another. There is too much to love in this world.
It's a blustery morning up top! The high yesterday was a summery 54 degrees. It felt 70 in the sun! The overnight low got down to 35 degrees. It was 35 degrees and partly cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .72" of rain and with the warm temperatures, there is no more snow remaining in camp. I'd bet that a few trails still have some lingering icy spots, so be sure to pack some Microspikes and use caution in shady areas!
I spent a fantastic day moseying around camp yesterday. I was rich in time and beauty, leisure reigned supreme. I read on the porch of cabin 6 in the sunshine, then headed out to Myrtle Point, High Top and Cliff Tops as the sun was settling on the seemingly forever away horizon. There were a few ravens cruising around Cliff Tops at sunset, they were the only creatures that seemed to have more joy in being than I had yesterday...
It's another gorgeous morning up top! The high yesterday reached a ridiculous 54 degrees and the low was 31 degrees. It was 43 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain is above the clouds, yet again. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still about an inch of snow remaining up top. The trails are quite slick, so be sure to pack some sort of traction if you intend to hike on past Alum Cave.
I had a fantastic hike up Alum yesterday afternoon. My friend and I lingered in Alum Cave, soaking in the unseasonably warm temperatures. I thought we might need sunscreen. We lingered long, until there was only about an hour of day light with which to make it up to sunset. It was spectacular - the mountain is full of surprises. The perfect slanty golden evening light was otherwordly. We reached the old horse gate right when the sun was setting and discovered that we were still (somehow!) above the clouds. We could not help but laugh at how fortunate we were. The ravens were laughing, too.
In other news, the Mt. LeConte shelter will be closed for the time being. There has been some bear activity and the wildlife department will be monitoring the situation. For current backcountry trail and campsite information, visit the Park Service's website or please call (865) 436-1297
It's yet another beautiful morning up top! The high yesterday reached 43 degrees and the low was 32 degrees. It was 32 degrees and the mountain is clear above the valley clouds! The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still about an inch of snow left up top. The trails are pretty slick, so be sure to pack traction devices if you're hoping to make it above Alum Cave. Enjoy the wintry bliss!
Much thanks to all the kind souls who gave me fresh fruit, dark coffee and good cheer yesterday! It is much appreciated!
It's a beautiful morning up top! The high yesterday reached 34 degrees and the low was 22 degrees. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still about 2 inches of snow up top. The trails are really slick, I would highly recommend some sort of traction device! Enjoy the day! I will be soaking up the sun, reading on the porch of Cabin 5!
so while you sit and whistle dixie with your money and your power, i can hear the flowers a-growing in the rubble of the towers.
I feel great gratitude for being here, for being, rather for there is no need to hike oneself to the snow mountains in order to feel free. I am not here to seek the “crazy wisdom;” if I am, I shall never find it. I am here to be here, like these rocks and sky and snow, like this hail that is falling down out of the sun…the absurdity of a life that may well end before one understands it does not relieve one of the duty (to that self which is inseparable from others) to live it as bravely and generously as possible. Peter Matthiesen
It's another beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 29 degrees. The low was 13 degrees, recorded shortly after observation yesterday morning. It was 24 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is still 2 inches of snow remaining up top. The trails are in worse shape than I had expected, with a lot of slick spots and generally tricky areas. Be sure to pack some sort of traction devices unless you enjoy slipping and sliding down a cold mountain!
I went for a wonderful midnight stroll yesterday night. Most of my night hikes start with some sort of daylight and turn into races to get back to my cabin before it gets too late. However, last night I really savored the mountain in moonlight. There were a number of instances where I'd turn corners, see some stark light amongst the trees and expect to run into some other crazy headlamped hikers or a joyful fire pit or chilly Cherokee ghosts, only to remember that the dim yellow orb amongst the trees was my old friend, moon. It was a little shock to the system, an honest surprise each time.
On one hand, you could say it has something to do with a failing short term memory... but I prefer to think of it as an ever renewing gift for living in the present. Each new turn of the trail found the moon in a different place in the sky and with my focus on my feet and my heartbeat, it was like I was born new every 3 minutes. I'd fail to remember my past encounter with this ethereal brightness amongst the spruce-firs and the old game was on again...
It's another glorious morning up top. The high yesterday reached 21 degrees and the overnight low was 13 degrees. It was 14 degrees and clear up top, with an inversion cap over the valley below. The mountain received no new snow, but the low daytime temperatures did not melt anything. There is still about 2 inches of snow remaining up top. The trails are sure to be a bit slick, so be careful out there!
I spent yesterday as a witness.
It is an imprecise calculation, but I believe that I saw and felt more vividly up here yesterday than... an army of poets would have seen and felt in a typical city in a year. No offense to poets, or cities. I just believe there is that much more unfiltered TRUTH up here.
I am blessed.
A big heartfelt thank you to my friend JY for helping me out yesterday. It is greatly appreciated! Wishing you the best of luck on Aconcagua on January 4th!
It's a cold, wintry morning up top! The high yesterday reached 27 degrees. The overnight low got down to 16 degrees. It was 16 degrees and partly cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received 2 inches of snow and a tender hoarfrost is coating every surface of camp like magical pixie dust. It is a sight to see. The trails are sure to be a bit more slick with this unpredictable precipitation, so be sure to have warm boots, a fresh change of socks, plenty of warm layers and some traction devices if you intend to summit.
Yesterday was the kind of Mt. LeConte day I've been dreaming of all summer. I was dead tired and had nothing to do but listen to the snow fall. It was the perfect prescription for sore muscles and flagging energy. The time went. It was the kind of calm I seldom get to experience, with no disturbances and nothing but my warm clothes and good books to attend to. This space and silence pleases my mind beyond words. A pure and perfect nourishment.
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!