February 08th, 2017
Here was no man's garden, but the unhandselled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor waste-land. It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet Earth, as it was made for ever and ever, — to be the dwelling of man, we say, — so Nature made it, and man may use it if he can. Man was not to be associated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific, — not his Mother Earth that we have heard of, not for him to tread on, or be buried in, — no, it were being too familiar even to let his bones lie there, — the home, this, of Necessity and Fate. Thoreau
It's a warm, foggy day up top. The high yesterday reached 48 degrees. The overnight low was 36 degrees. It was 40 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received .20 inches of rain yesterday afternoon and evening. There is no snow remaining up top and very little ice remaining on the trails. I believe it is possible to reach the summit and return safely without Microspikes, especially if you're careful. It sounds as if we are in for some snow (!!!) this evening once this cold front pushes through. Get out and enjoy the easy trail conditions while they last!
Grace and I had yet another afternoon of recovery in drizzly weather yesterday. This season has had undeniably strange happenings, but the weather has had it's effect on the winter caretaker position even more dramatically than usual. I've seen 8 inches of snow since I've been up top this season, well off LeConte's average of 100 inches per winter. Typically at this point of the season, there is a decent snow pack and hiking requires Microspikes. I've used them once. While the temperate weather has been a welcome boon for my trail running (I am too cautious to run seriously with significant ice), it has affected the tenor of the season. Rather than feeling snowed in and a bit weary of cold, exhausting Microspike explorations and turning inward to my books, I've woken up nearly every day, felt the temperature on my face as I walk out my cabin door and have thought to myself, "Not a bad day for a run." It has made this season feel short (I'm sure the 12 nights out of the park due to the fire contributes to this as well), but my time up top has flown by. It's only 4 weeks until we hike off the mountain and I feel like we have just arrived. It has been a season of action moreso than reflection. While that is a change from my typical season, it has also been a consistent joy - if your action is centered around something as rewarding and playful as trail running, the long days spent reading and watching snow fall out the window can come later... perhaps in the Whites!
2/8/2017 12:10:24 pm
JP is getting FIT!
2/9/2017 10:08:02 am
2/8/2017 02:40:35 pm
JP, you have outdone your self with the blue picture. I am impressed. Thank you.
2/9/2017 10:11:08 am
2/8/2017 03:41:56 pm
I'm so incredibly jealous that you get to stay here all winter, JP. Glad you post such beautiful, serene pictures, though. They get me through my work day at my office job- where I often stare out my window and daydream of hiking back up! Hoping to take the kids for the first time in July.
2/9/2017 09:41:20 am
Franklin's comment about picking up cigarette butts and bits of trash is as good an idea as has been presented. Maybe people could start carrying cans of spray paint to write their names and dates on the rocks up at Cliff Tops;
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