Yesterday's high reached only 59 with a low of 50. I returned from off days with a gentle rain accompanying me up the mountain. We totaled 0.65 of an inch of rain at the lodge.
As for the weather today, we awoke to a beautiful morning. We even had some crew members wake up a little early to scare up an extra cup of coffee and enjoy looking at the valley below before breakfast shift started. A cloud enveloped us around lunch, which was soon followed by rain showers, prompting one crew member who had the afternoon shift off (and visions of sunning at Myrtle Point) to offer, "Why does Mother Nature hate us?" As of 2 p.m., it's still pretty cloudy but no longer raining. I think, based on no scientific information whatsoever, that we're paying dues this summer for a beautiful autumn atop Mt. LeConte.
As I mentioned earlier, I hiked back up from off days yesterday. Three days of homegrown, fresh fried okra made my ascent time feel a lot slower than it actually was (but it was worth it). I also noticed some color on a precious few of the blackberries along Alum Cave Bluff Trail. Most of the blackberries are still green as a gourd, but a few are taking on pink and purple hues as they ripen. That transitional ripening color is best manifested this time of year in the bruises of Saturday morning's slow-moving high school football players--a pink and purple reminder of a rock 'em, sock 'em Friday night showdown with county bragging rights on the line.
I was visiting with some of our guests this morning and heard something that pleased all of us who work at the lodge. A father, who brought his family up to LeConte Lodge last year for the first time, was relaying the family discussion about where to take their vacation this year. The finalists appeared to be a trip to the beach or a return engagement up our fine mountain. His son voted for LeConte, saying, "Dad, I had a better time up there than I did at the beach." That's a good thing to hear, and we're also glad you came back to see us.
I hope you all will come back to see us, too. The forecast, always entertaining, looks better long term than it has in a while. Happy trails.