It is truly a nasty morning up here, so I am cooped up in the kitchen at the moment, enjoying some black tea. It is currently 33 degrees with freezing rain falling lightly onto a blanket of white. We received what looks to be 3 inches of snow overnight, the rain could have reduced it over time though. What a shame, freshly fallen snow obliterated by rain drops. Fresh white powder transforms into wet slush, sloshing with every step! With temps just above freezing, more snow throughout the day will be iffy. Temps should hover around the low 30s, dipping into the upper 20s later this evening. After walking up and down Alum Cave trail three days in a row, I will be taking advantage of this wet weather by observing a day of rest (for the most part). With temperatures hovering just above freezing at the top, warmer temps down the trail could cause ice melt, making your life a little bit easier. Walking the trail yesterday, I concluded that the ice is still equally as bad as it was yesterday and days prior. That being said, use extreme caution if you decide to climb LeConte today. With the combination of snow, ice, freezing rain and high winds, travel times will increase significantly. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to climb up and down the mountain, downed trees and thick pools of ice at the top can be hard to maneuver! In addition, Highway 441 closed at approximately 7 pm last night due to high winds (no snow and/or ice apparently), so Alum Cave and the Boulevard are inaccessible. The "High Wind Warning" issued by the National Weather Service has been in effect since 7:00 last night, and will stay in effect until around 4:00 this afternoon. As always, hiking during times of high winds is always a risk, so be on the lookout for more downed trees and debris along the way. Safe travels, and use your best judgement on the trail...
Yesterday's high temperature was 33 degrees with a pleasant low of 28. Partly cloudy skies dominated most of the day, with patches of blue sky bleeding through ever so often. Yet another great day to be on the trail! Ice is still pretty serious on the upper half of the trail, with large patches covering the entire trail in some places! Things took a nasty turn during my hike up, with brutal wind gusts, snow, and freezing rain moving in just before dark. Fortunately for me, I found refuge in my cabin just before the front moved in! We ended up receiving an inch of rain overnight, and 3" of snow in the mix! Like I mentioned earlier, snow will be hit or miss today, as temps are hovering right around 32 degrees. According to the forecast, we could see another inch and a half if we're lucky! Moving into this evening, clear skies are predicted. Looking a few days ahead, skies should stay clear with snow on the radar for Sunday night and Monday! Temperatures look to be in the low 20s to low 30s for the next five days, which means the ice could be here for awhile. As always, I will update you all as the week goes by! If you are planning on hiking up in the near future, always be sure to check the road status and weather forecast. If you don't live locally, these two things are essential when planning your hike up LeConte! Folks that live at or near the base of the mountain may have a decent idea on what the weather may look like, but conditions can change rather quickly! After spending over 2 years hiking avidly around LeConte and the rest of the National Park, I can tell you firsthand that the weather is virtually unpredictable out here! Weather can change drastically in a matter of minutes (and sometimes seconds), so it's important that you come prepared for anything Mother Nature throws at you!
"Eager folks from all around, shall make their journey from the ground. Hearts will pound as views astound, atop the mound where kings are crowned. Mountain-goers find their way, weathered cabins old and gray. Avid hikers come to stay, cherished trails they shall not stray..."