It's still cloudy with some distant thunder rumbling on top of LeConte, though the sun has made a few brief appearances. On Friday, the high temperature reached 70 degrees, the hottest day since July 18. Our overnight low was a comfortable 57. We totaled 0.08 inches of rain yesterday. That's not exactly a frog-strangling rain total, but I will tell you one thing I learned when I checked the rain gauge early this morning--0.08 inches of rain is enough to drown a bumblebee. Thanks to our prodigious flower display this year the bumblebees aren't exactly endangered on top of LeConte.
Last night just before midnight we heard some distant thunder making some bellicose threats as it rumbled toward us and our neighbor mountain, Clingman's Dome. However, like a middle school bully, once it reached our backyard that boastful thunder whimpered away in the night.
Usually a couple of times a week one of our friends who hikes LeConte regularly will bring us up a newspaper, which is greatly appreciated in the black hole of news. I was perusing the Knoxville News Sentinel from Wednesday, Aug. 7 and read something I liked about fair Mt. LeConte.
Greg Johnson, the columnist, has been up to see us plenty on LeConte and always seems happy to be here. He also wrote a book of meditations about his hikes in the Smokies titled Sanctuary. He's given us a copy of the book for our guests to read in the LeConte Lodge office. At any rate, Greg is traveling in Italy and examines the impact of mountains on culture and commerce, specifically Mt. Etna (which he planned to summit Thursday) and Mt. LeConte (a little closer to home).
Please check out the Sentinel if you'd like to read the whole column, "Reminders of Home While in Italy," but I particularly liked the following section of Greg's work. "To climb LeConte, for me and hundreds of other East Tennesseans, is the experience of a lifetime every time. To climb LeConte is to experience life in a few hours walking; the struggle, the strain, the pain, the rest, the respite and, finally, the touch of transcendence. To summit is sublime."
Well said Greg. I can't top that. Here's hoping you had an enjoyable hike up Mt. Etna. Tell the good folks in Italy that we have a fine mountain waiting on them in Tennessee. Happy trails.