December 12th, 2016
It's a foggy, drizzly morning up top. The high yesterday reached 38 degrees. The overnight low was 28 degrees. It was 37 degrees and raining at 7am observation. The rain started around 4am up top and it rained .24" as of this morning. Rain is in the forecast until this afternoon up top. The trails should be soggy and I would expect that there is still a little bit of ice in sections. I'm sure the trails will be quiet today - take advantage!
One of the things I love most about returning to LeConte every winter are the little seasonal milestones. I am usually a great sleeper (every man must have one skill!), but I was up for a few hours last night. The winds started to pick up at 2am and I realized that it was my first truly stormy night in the cabin this season. I recalled that it typically takes me a few storms to get used to sleeping through them. It is not an anxious feeling, although I am occasionally forced to consider whether the solar panels' support beams will snap or if the cabin could possibly be blown down the mountain, like something out of a dark fairy tale. Mostly, it is a procession of interesting sounds: the bellowing of gusts flowing up from the propane racks, the oddly hypnotic creakings of trees, the tired sound of cabins that have lived through countless nights like this. They are all so distinct that they force a certain level of awareness, one that rides out just above sleep. I know now that the lodge has seen far worse and fared fine, so it is mostly about drinking in this little symphony before my energy gives out and I daze back into an equally blustery dreamworld.
12/12/2016 11:33:30 am
Good writing, JP!
12/12/2016 11:40:54 am
Fantastic picture of the distant mountains. Happy you are back to report to us from the top of the mountain. Who (in red hat) is hiding behind the huge rock??
12/13/2016 10:20:43 am
12/12/2016 11:52:58 am
Love reading your beautiful words of nature. So very glad you're safe & can now rest. Stay warm. :)
Yes, JP, the Lodge certainly has endured a lot throughout its years since 1925, before even the Pak was established. Wind blows, fire burns, and the welcome cooling of moisture from the rains is always a relief and welcome. As you wrote, it is truly a procession of interesting sounds that vary from day to day and even throughout a single day. I'll never forget my first stay there when I was lazily taking in the bright sunlight with a gentle breeze wafting over me and drifting off there in a rocking chair for a few minutes. I awoke suddenly with a fierce wind blowing moisture and fog across the ridge above and thinking about where exactly I was ! Great Galloping Gertie !!! That fog swooped down so suddenly that I was rather taken aback, certainly with great surprise ! Yet, the experience was actually refreshing, once I calmed down that is. The times up there when there's lots of fog, as it was during my visit back in October, are probably my favorite. G'day.
12/12/2016 12:30:24 pm
typical JP loving this!!
12/12/2016 12:59:24 pm
I love reading your descriptive wording of the surroundings on the mountain. It takes me there, laying, listening to the sounds of the environment. One of the highlights of the winter season.
12/14/2016 07:57:55 am
12/12/2016 03:24:49 pm
So perfectly described
12/12/2016 04:37:39 pm
JP, your photos are incredible! Thanks for sharing them with us. SO glad you are safely back on the mountain.
12/12/2016 07:34:29 pm
Great post, JP!
12/12/2016 07:58:29 pm
Hello JP, I will hiking up to Mt. Lecoste next Saturday with my friend mind you I am coming from Florida. Do you have any suggestions on the hike. I know it's cold, I might find snow and probably windy but besides that anything I should be concerned about..any suggestions..thanks
12/13/2016 09:51:20 am
Sylvia: Don't mean to intrude, but you DO know that the Lodge is closed for the winter don't you !? I hope you're planning to hike up and back down the same day unless you stay in the shelter above the Lodge where it surely will be pretty cold. Shouldn't be any trouble with bears, but be prepared anyway just in case. Good luck.
12/13/2016 11:45:53 am
Hello Roger not intruding at all. Yes it will be a one day hike :) . Thank you
12/13/2016 10:24:14 am
12/13/2016 10:25:08 am
12/13/2016 01:34:48 pm
JP thanks for the heads up. Will do. Can't wait to make it to the summit..hopefully I'll get to see you and say hello!
12/12/2016 11:53:39 pm
The first time I was fortunate to stay at the lodge was October a year ago. The wind that day, beginning just above Rainbow Falls, was gusting to about 50 mph and the winds up top that night were almost sustained at 80 to 85 mph. It was raining (sideways) and foggy and cold. I didn't know exactly what I was expecting, but I can tell you I did not expect those cabins to be a sound as they were. Barely heard the wind that night and our cabin wasn't creaking. It was warm and quiet and cozy, and I slept like a baby. When we made a trip to the restroom in the middle of the night, I told my husband that that was the warmest "outhouse" I had ever been in for it to be so cold and windy outside. And that thing didn't creak either. It definately had my grandparents' outhouse beat!
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