It's an impressively stormy day up top. The high yesterday reached 52 degrees. The low only reached 46 degrees. It was 51 degrees and drizzling at 7am observation. The mountain received .81" of rain yesterday, starting in the afternoon and continuing overnight. I went up & down Alum yesterday and found the trails were in great shape. They'll be a bit wet today, but there's no ice. I was able to hike in sneakers the whole way.
The advancing rainstorm yesterday gave my hike a sense of urgency. Although I generally mosey along at a pace that could hardly be described as strenuous, it's a fun diversion to race myself up the mountain every once in a while. I never deliberately do it, but not getting drenched is as good a motivation as any. I read in the Hiking Trails to Mt. LeConte pamphlet that the record ascent is 45 minutes... which is truly humbling. If you acknowledge that a bit of vanity is involved with any 'race' and get over that, it produces a totally different kind of hike. You're more inwardly focused, noticing how your footfalls drop, how deep and efficient your breaths are, how to make your posture more ideal to avoid aches and pains. With that kind of focus, laser mode, whatever you want to call it, your brain definitely approaches a different plane. Time zips by and before you know it, you are where you began.