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!