Good morning from your local highlander,
The rain has a sopping wet grip on the mountain right now, with steady showers coating the outside of my cabin. The current temperature is a hospitable 45 degrees, which is quite mild compared to the last few days. Rain falls with good intentions, while high gusts of wind rip through the trees ever so often. Sounds of howling wind and pattering rain droplets fill the air, with the occasional bird song fluctuating through my open window. The dark gray sky paints a somber picture this morning, with no signs of letting up. Dense pockets of ominous cloud encase the lodge with ease, cutting off all visuals of the outside world. Unfortunately, the consistent rainfall has obliterated virtually all of the snow, with trace amounts scattered around the mountain. We have received a substantial amount of rain over the past 24 hours, weighing in at an impressive 1.70." Blustery conditions are expected to continue through most of today, with a break in precipitation possible late this evening. A "Flash Flood Watch" has been issued for the area, along with the "High Wind Advisory" that was issued yesterday. That being said, use caution if you plan on hiking one of LeConte's stellar yet strenuous trails. With all this steady rainfall and melted snow, creeks and tributaries have swelled tremendously. Gushing water covers the trails in uncommon spots, so wear your best hiking/rain boots this morning. There are still some areas in the shade that have piles of snow (and maybe a little sliver of ice), so keep your eyes peeled as you climb the mountain. From the looks of it, Highway 441 remains open during all this madness, but the spur between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg experienced a rock slide. Fortunately, there is a detour available, so access to the park is still plausible. Good luck on the trail today folks! Make your best attempt to stay dry, hydrated and motivated this Tuesday, and share the experience with a friend. Showing a new visitor what this park has to offer is always a fun task. Today might not be the best day with all this rain and wind, but you can find beauty in this park on any given day...
Looking ahead at the next few days, rain is possible through Thursday morning, with breaks in precipitation likely this afternoon and tomorrow. Temperatures are thought to remain in the mid to upper 40s today and tomorrow, with chillier temps moving in on Thursday. This weekend, clear skies and average temperatures are expected, and no snow is on the radar as of right now. Those planning on paying Lady LeConte a visit this week, be sure to check the current/future weather conditions and plan accordingly. With inhumane weather being a huge possibility up here, rescheduling a hike might not be a bad idea. On average, I would say at least 3 or 4 days of each week are "socked in." It might pay off in the long run to organize your hike on a nicer day, the mind-bending views near the top cannot be missed...
Yesterday's high temperature was a comforting 45 degrees, with an average low of 34. Anticipating heavy rainfall and high winds, I was ready for anything Mother Nature hid up her sleeve. To my surprise, morning/afternoon rain was a moderate drizzle at best. As I progressed down the Bullhead trail, views of Sugarland Mountain, the Chimneys, and Gatlinburg were visible through a gray haze. Winds forcefully made their way up the mountain, creating a whistling sound in some areas. If you are planning on hiking one of LeConte's trails during extremely high winds, the Bullhead is your worst option. Fearing for my safety, I powered through the burned areas with speed and precision, glancing up at the dead trees swaying in the wind. I lost count after 20, but there were copious amounts of trees down across the trail! Fortunately for me, the rain never lived up to the hype, and I stayed fairly dry on the way down. Looking into the evening, winds continued to penetrate the mountain, with moderate rain falling gracefully. Traveling next to the creek was pretty humbling, hefty amounts of water cascaded down smoothed rocks aggressively. Certain areas on Alum Cave trail have high volumes of gushing water, nothing too scary though. Tributaries turned waterfalls, I walked up the soggy mountain trail with good intentions. Overall, another unique yet amusing day spent exploring the gem of the Smokies. With copious miles beneath me, I slept through the night like a newborn child...
"Gray skies are just clouds passing by..."
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