Good Morning and an early Happy Thanksgiving,
Well, friends and family, here we are once again turning the page and blowing out the lamps on another successful season atop Mt. LeConte. The 93rd of its kind now complete, but alone in its uniqueness and charm. It’s a bittersweet moment for many, as the culmination of an eight-plus month routine suddenly faces change. The mood is both celebratory and somber as crew that have become close companions now go their separate ways, and the special gathering place for guests falls silent to the whispers of the chilling winter winds. Winter caretaker, Seth Orme, is en route to his mountaintop abode for stint #2, and we’re especially excited to see what he has in store. The timing of it all couldn’t be more fitting though, as the end of this chapter presents a perfect opportunity to reflect back and offer up thanks.
There are so many people who contribute to this backcountry experience, whether here on the mountain forefront, or behind the scenes at our Apple Valley office. Starting with our crew, a fantastic group of finishers in every sense, always stepping up to take care of our guests and each other. They will certainly leave their mark as a group who embraced the work hard/play hard mantra, straight through to the finish line, and they did it together. One last movie night huddled around a small screen next to a giant cauldron of popcorn, a pure embodiment of this crew after one last solid day’s work. To our wranglers, who endure long days and nights in the best and toughest of conditions. Yet through it all, their commitment to the operation is unwavering, as is their attention to our beloved llamas. To our dedicated office staff, who spoil us with their consistency in providing employee and guest with exceptional guidance and support. The cumulative knowledge we have behind our administrative and reservations desks goes a long way in keeping this train on track. To our numerous partners, from the larger contingencies like the National Park Service who’s responsiveness when it comes to trail, road, medical, or concessions related matters is greatly appreciated, to the small business practices here locally and afar who provide outstanding services. That’s in both the numerous products we sell and this lodge’s inner workings and mechanics. And last but certainly not least, to our thousands of visitors. Whether staying here overnight or pounding out the miles in an afternoon, you are the reason we are here. A lodge is about hosting a collective, and without you, this entire outdoors experience has no place. So to all those listed above, and surely those I’ve forgotten, a 6,593 foot deep and heartfelt thanks!
I’d also like to take this moment to give attention to someone who has contributed greatly to the LeConte Lodge experience for many decades now. Back in March of this year, after an amazing 42 years of service to this mountain, we celebrated the well deserved retirement of one Tim Line. That is one person leaving their stamp on a place that has hosted thousands upon thousands of people across nearly half of its storied history. The experiences we’ve all been able to hike away with are in many ways courtesy of Tim’s commitment to our cause, his love for this mountain, and his understanding of what it takes to operate a remote backcountry lodge against the incredible forces of nature. So many bonds have been formed among crew, volunteers, businesses, and guests because this man found ways to bring them together. Although he’s been rightfully enjoying his newfound time with wife Lisa, the grandkids, and traveling, he’s still keeping an ear to the ground when it comes to the lodge as one of our owners. I am beyond humbled and honored to have been granted the opportunity to carry the torch this first year. The support from not only Tim, but our entire team with Stokely Hospitality Enterprises has been tremendous. It is an absolute pleasure to serve each and every one of you who hold this lodge so dear. The traditions of the past will propel us into the future as we forge new bonds and memories together.
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving from your favorite mountain. We’ll see you all again next season!
Sincerely Yours in Lodging,
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