I stepped out of my cabin the other day and was surprised to see this deer looking at me. There are three of them that frequent the lodge grounds--one doe and her two "youngins." They're great neighbors, and we're glad to have them around. I think they must have been holed up or headed down below during last week's cold snap, but they've returned High on LeConte. The above fellow is a young buck. You may not be able to tell in the photo, but he has two bumps growing on top of his head--an antler starter set. In another couple of years he'll be a heartbreaker.
Upon returning home, one of our guests told us that during his descent he met a whopping 210 people on the Alum Cave Bluff Trail between LeConte Lodge and the parking lot on Saturday morning. That's more like a holiday or mid-October number, certainly a robust number for mid-April.
Things at the lodge are moving along as they should. I heard some guests engaged in a spirited card game of spades at one of the picnic tables under Saturday's sun. Crew member Austin decided that "his gills were drying out," so he headed down the Alum Cave Bluff Trail after lunch for a swim in one of the deeper pools before returning for supper. I don't imagine he had to elbow anyone out of the way for a spot at a high-mountain swimming hole in April, but he returned no worse for the wear.
Speaking of good neighbors, we were glad to see Dave, a 2011 LeConte Lodge crew member, come up for a visit. He did good work for us last year, and we welcome him back as a LeConte celebrity (his boys should be impressed with that).