The most recent forecast I heard for the next few days follows. We have a 60 percent chance of rain today, followed by a 70 percent chance of rain Wednesday, 80 percent Thursday and 60 percent Friday. Smart money says bring your rain gear anytime you come see us, but especially during the next few days. I've not heard of any problems with any of the trails leading to LeConte.
The temperatures are expected to be a little on the chilly side, too. That's a far cry from a year ago when we set LeConte's all-time high of 81.5 on June 30. I remember we used to brag that we had never hit 80 degrees on top of LeConte--until last year.
On June 29, 2012, the morning lazed around hot and sticky without a whisper of a breeze. It was an odd marriage of technology and the lack thereof as crew members gathered around our battery-powered thermometer to take photos with their smartphones as the digital readout reached 80.0 for the first time since humans have been perched atop LeConte. Although we live in the land electricity forgot, as crew members utilized their wireless technology someone in Beijing could have learned about the all-time LeConte high being broken before someone who was just starting her hike on Alum Cave Bluff Trail.
If memory serves correctly, on June 29, 2012 we ended up topping out at 81.4 before bettering the all-time mark to 81.5 on June 30. Last year on July 1, we also hit 80 degrees, but didn't match the previous two days. At any rate, I hope that record stands for a long time.
Changing gears, with July 4 coming up I hope you'll have a chance to come see us or visit another of our fine national parks. In 2007 and 2008 I worked as a horse wrangler at a guest ranch in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. It was wonderful, and I met great people from all over the globe. One time I had some guests from the United Kingdom out on a horseback ride. We rode trails through thousands of acres of protected state and federal land and let our horses take a breather at the top of a mountain. The view was astounding and hadn't changed much since the days the stagecoach rumbled near there on its route between Fort Collins, Colo., and Laramie, Wyo.
My guests said, "You take this for granted. We don't have this beautiful, protected and public land in Europe." At first, I bristled a little bit at a foreigner telling me what I took for granted in my own country. However, they were really fine people and exactly right. Whatever our difficulties, the United States is a fine place to be.
Continuing the gratitude, I noticed on my last trip down the mountain through Pigeon Forge on my way home and Townsend on my return trip to LeConte that most of the hotels and motels were doing fine business--lots of cars in the parking lot. Then I thought that any of them would trade a summer of sweet tea for our occupancy rate at LeConte Lodge. That's possible because of you all. Thank you.
Finally, this will likely be the last High on LeConte update until Saturday. That's one of the reasons I tried to give a little extra news in this update. We're not holding out on you. Chris and Allyson are on off days. I just learned I need to hike down to deliver my Papaw's eulogy. General manager Tim Line will be running operations until Chris and Allyson return. We'll be open for all our normal services to overnight guests and dayhikers and will take good care of you. Come on up and see us.
Happy Independence Day and happy trails.