It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 43 degrees. The low was 23 degrees, recorded early yesterday morning. It was 35 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is no snow on the mountain. The trails (with the exception of Boulevard) are almost entirely clear of ice. Get out and enjoy these clear conditions before winter settles in for good!
I had a hard time hiking up Bullhead yesterday. It's become a bit of a struggle for me to figure out how to express all this incredible sensory input. There is a part of me that felt as if I worked hard enough at it, the sentences would come. I'd be able to craft them with persistence and will. However, as I worked my way up the sunny backside of the Bullhead trail, it felt arrogant to try to contain all that glory with my petty words. They are not enough. This experience is too rich for me to capture. The way the sun felt on my legs after a chilly hike up, the warm breeze and pure blue bliss skies, the lingering clouds that rise and fall and seem more alive than many people I've met, the constant joys of a body in motion fulfilling it's destiny... it is all too much sometimes. All I can do is throw my hands up in the air, savor the present moment, keep on climbing, blessing how beautiful life can be.
Much thanks to Buddy for hiking me up some more treats! I truly appreciate the variety in my trail-food-centric diet!
Good morning JP. Pleasing photos as usual. Thanks. I was wondering if you have ever hiked along the trail that splits off from the Bullhead trail and ends near the Sugarlands Visitor Center ? It's called the Old Sugarlands Trail and I haven't been on it in a long while. I'm planning on leading a group of hikers along it next summer sometime. It's listed at 3.9 mi G'day.
12/8/2014 12:30:08 am
12/8/2014 12:13:07 am
JP, your pictures are great. Most of the time I use one for wallpaper! Enjoy.
12/8/2014 04:13:31 am
FYOI..... The park service announced this morning that the Alum Cave Trail will be closed for repairs Monday thru Thursday from May through November, 1915.
12/8/2014 04:20:03 am
2015, must be Monday!
12/8/2014 05:04:59 am
That's crazy ! May through November !!??? The biggest tourist season portion of the year ?? Well, at least that will eliminate the terribly overcrowded parking at that trail head. But won't that dump a lot of extra traffic onto the other trails leading up Mt.Leconte ? Rainbow, Trillium, Bulhead, and the others ? I know trails need maintained and Alum is the most heavily travelled (other than maybe Laurel Falls) and needs repairs, but that sure is going to make for a "sticky wicket" in the Park ! And think about this; from now on you can bet with great certainty that every year, for a great portion of each year, at any given time, there will be at least one trail that will be closed for repairs, etc. Such is the effects from overpopulation !
12/8/2014 05:09:48 am
I have noticed for the last 2 years that Alum was in desperate need of repair work. As inconvenient as it will be I am sure it will be a good thing in the long run
12/8/2014 04:17:23 am
FYI----don't know how the "o" got in there.
12/8/2014 05:06:59 am
We were up on Friday (the 5th) via Rainbow Falls and took Bullhead down. We looked around for you - but saw no one. Sorry we missed you! I can't even imagine coming up Bullhead! Impressive! One last question -Anyway of getting the t-shirt for this year? If yes, who would I contact. Thanks! Enjoy the beauty of the mountain - we surely did!!
12/8/2014 08:13:11 am
Hi Monica, I asked the same question about the T-shirt. I requested it though the Le Conte website got a response that they don't see JP much, so I guess the shirts are stored on the mountain. They asked for size and short or long sleeve. That was Friday when I responded if I hear anything more I will repost.
12/8/2014 08:17:34 am
12/9/2014 12:20:02 am
12/9/2014 02:45:56 am
12/9/2014 04:06:51 am
Unfortunately, we were up last weekend and are back in Cincinnati, now. Thanks for the offer...hopefully, one day our paths will cross. We do love reading the blog and look forward to your posts. Take care and enjoy the mountain we love! Have a Very Merry Christmas!
12/8/2014 07:44:33 am
If Alum is closed wonder why it doesn't appear on their site under trail closings?
12/8/2014 10:45:30 am
It isn't currently closed. It will begin in May and be Monday-Thursday so weekend hikers will still be able to enjoy the trail. This is the same procedure that they have used on Chimney Tops the past couple of years.
12/8/2014 11:32:54 am
Anyone posting Chamfort is a friend of mine. The late Dr. George Sheehan began a piece I will never forget with a Chamfort quote; "Man begins each stage of his life as a neophyte." True that.
12/9/2014 02:48:06 am
12/8/2014 03:29:06 pm
I agree the "feeling" of the second by second, ever changing beauty here is too much to describe in words but you seem to nail it! I know that feeling, love that feeling, unbelievable at times!
12/8/2014 04:08:18 pm
I have noticed some people counting machines attached to trees along the side of alum cave trail recently...I'm sure that has something to do with determining need for repair and when to do it
12/8/2014 04:12:00 pm
As usual, JP, today's post left me in a state of pensive thought and personal reflection. So appreciative of your gift of writing. Get ready for your next snow; it's coming! Enjoy.
12/8/2014 11:33:16 pm
Gotta love some Dylan. Like a Rolling Stone, indeed. While you are at the high point up there at LeConte, we look up at Maddron Bald and over to Cammerer, while sitting at our dining room table. The ever changing play of light and clouds is like a living masterpiece, sometimes impressionistic, sometimes medieval, sometimes sharp and real. I love living here, being part of our beautiful mountains. Thanks for your posts J.P.
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