December 31st, 2022
Good Morning, Folks!
Welcome to another foggy morning on the mountain! Well, at least it’s warm—43 degrees at 7:00 AM. That’s the warmest that we’ve had for two weeks. And the roads to our trailheads are open once again! The snow on Mt LeConte pretty much finished melting during the night.
It’s difficult to realize that today is New Year’s Eve! 2022 is almost history. It will be interesting (exciting?) to see what 2023 has in store for us. I hope that the new year treats each of you well.
Along with the warmer temperatures we’re expecting more precipitation in the next few days—I’m sure that’s no surprise!
Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR to each of you from High On LeConte!!
December 30th, 2022
Good Morning, Folks!
It’s 36 degrees and foggy here at the lodge! It looks like it was good that I got my laundry done yesterday. There is no way to tell what today will bring.
There were a lot of hikers and backpackers on LeConte yesterday. The majority of them are doing the Rainbow Falls Trail as the roads are still closed.
I walked up to Cliff Tops yesterday and saw another awesome sunset!
Have a great day!
December 29th, 2022
I’ve got a beautiful sunrise to watch as I enjoy my fresh hot black coffee and listen to my favorite bluegrass music station on the radio. Livin’ the dream!
Now if they could just open the road to Newfound Gap all would be well. 35 degrees here at 7:00 AM. Yesterday’s high temperature was 48 degrees and it melted about two inches of snow. This caused the snow to “ball up” on the hiker’s micro spikes—causing a certain amount of aggravation. Still I would recommend packing them with you just in case you encounter patches of ice.
I’ll probably do my laundry today, and then find a nice sunny spot to sit and watch for the day hikers. Many of them are friends and neighbors—“locals “—from down in the valley. However, there are a surprising number of international folks who are climbing LeConte for the first time in spite of the snow! They are all to be commended for their efforts and their love of the outdoors!
More precipitation is forecast for the weekend, so I would recommend that you enjoy the sunshine while you can!
December 28th, 2022
The temperature at 7:00 AM was 34 degrees—it seems like a long time since it’s been that warm! The sun is shining and the skies are blue. It looks like a great day! The picture shown above is sunset last night at Cliff Tops.
The road to Newfound Gap is still closed this morning, but hopefully will open this afternoon. I’ve already seen one day hiker coming up the Rainbow Falls trail this morning!
I think that I’ll finish shoveling the snow off the deck in front of the office this morning and sit there in the sunshine and watch for day hikers. It’s another great day to be on the mountain!
December 27th, 2022
It looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day on our favorite mountain. The sky is clear and blue, the ground is white with last night’s snow—we received about one and one-half inches of dry powder with no wind—spectacular! The temperature was a balmy 21 degrees at 7:00 AM. The roads in our area remain closed. The rangers advised me to tell folks to stay home and to stay safe today—it sounds as though they already have plenty of accidents and stranded vehicles to take care of!
Folks frequently ask me what winter caretakers do when they are snowed in on the mountain. Well—obviously shovel snow. And bake bread! This time it’s CORN BREAD! I’ve made lots of corn bread before at home, but here I have a new stove, a new oven, a new pan, and new ingredients.
It turned out okay—not awesome as intended—but okay. It seems that I will have lots of time to practice—and, as we know “practice makes perfect!”
Stay safe. Stay warm. Enjoy your time with friends,
From High On LeConte,
December 26th, 2022
Good Morning, Folks,
I hope that everyone had a great holiday! We had some sunshine and finally saw temperatures above zero. The temperature at the lodge this morning at 7:00 AM was twenty degrees warmer than at the same time yesterday. However I understand that the road to Newfound Gap remains closed due to patches of ice.
I didn’t see any hikers yesterday. Perhaps a few hardy souls will make it up the Rainbow Falls Trail today.
Today might be a good day to do some reading!
MERRY CHRISTMAS 12/25/22
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!
Well, we got a White Christmas up here on Mt LeConte! I’m sorry if you didn’t get one. The temperature here at the lodge has risen to negative 2 degrees—the high yesterday was 6 degrees above zero. The Park Service is still reporting that the roads are closed. Our snow is a dry powder of no more than 4 inches depth
I saw only one day hiker yesterday at about 1:00 PM.
I hope that you all received what you wished for this Christmas.
All that I wanted was:
I hope that you are able to enjoy a beautiful holiday surrounded by family and friends!
From High On LeConte !
CHRISTMAS EVE, 12/24/22
How are y’all doin’ today?
Looking down from the top of our favorite mountain things appear to be much the same as yesterday. The temperature here is the same as yesterday at this time— 11 degrees below zero. Last night the thermometer got down to negative 22 degrees. I woke up at about 11:00 PM because I was cold—my little heater just wasn’t keeping up! So I climbed up into the loft above my room where it was noticeably warmer and slept soundly for the rest of the night
There has been no additional snow since yesterday. All of the roads are still closed, so I don’t expect see many hikers.
I have taken advantage of the quiet time to do research on winter gear. The results are as follows: Mittens are warmer than gloves. I am a big fan of goose down—the higher the fill power number the better! I hope that you are able to stay warm today!
Wishing y’all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
DECEMBER 23, 2022
A snowy good morning to you!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas up here on Le Conte! About four inches of snow, 17 degrees below zero, enough wind to make it feel chilly, and all of the roads closed! What more could a winter caretaker want?
Last night at about 2:30 AM it got so quiet that the silence woke me up. I got out of my bed and looked outside. The deck outside my room was white with snow. When I ventured out of my warm room a simple trip to the privy became quite an adventure!
With the roads closed I don’t expect to see many day hikers, but if you should decide to brave the elements, please be careful!
From the quiet side of the Smokies!
DECEMBER 22, 2022
Good Morning, Folks!
It’s cloudy/foggy on the mountain again this morning. But it’s not too cold—yet! Our morning temperature was 33 degrees, with a low during the night of 24 degrees.
My big surprise yesterday as I took my daily tour of the mountain was the amount of ice remaining on the short trail (0.20 miles) from the lodge to Cliff Top. A lot more ice than what I saw on the Alum Bluff Trail the day before! Don’t put your micro spikes away just yet! Sunset last night was nothing to write home to mother about.
The big news today is the approaching weather forecast for this weekend. They are predicting high winds and low temperatures with a little bit of snow! Plan your travels accordingly.
From High On LeConte,
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