The sunny weather and high temperatures have been big news on top of LeConte. We topped out at 74 degrees yesterday, the hottest day of 2014 by four degrees. Additionally, Tuesday's mark of 74 degrees bests all of 2013 in the heat department. Last year's high of 73 occurred on June 12. We received no precipitation Monday or thus far Tuesday. Yesterday saw a gauzy summer haze set over the mountain. Visibility was terrible, but we did get quite a bit of sunshine. It's still plenty sunny today, and the visibility is better.
The other big news of the day is that the Park Service has opened the Bullhead Trail to LeConte, which had been closed a couple of weeks because of bear activity. There are signs posted warning hikers of recent bear activity, but the trail is open for use.
In other trail news, there is a big tree down on the Rainbow Falls/Bullhead Trail on the final grind up to the lodge. Additionally, there's a large tree reported down about halfway up the Boulevard Trail to LeConte. I hear both require a bit of scrambling around. Both downed trees have been reported to the busy Park Service trail crew, which always does a good job of helping open things up as soon as possible.
I was on vacation last week, taking in some beach time with my family. I was helping make sand castles with my nephews (which were promptly stomped down by highly skilled 3 and 7-year-old demolition engineers), when the thought occurred to me as I looked up high into the sky over the Atlantic Ocean: "Just how high is 6,593 feet from sea level? After a week of laziness, I've got to strap on a 40-pound pack and hike that far up to get back to work." I got back fine, but it wasn't always pretty on the hike back as I oozed plenty of sea salt on the trail.
We're getting excited about Independence Day on the mountain and hoping for clear night skies. I hope all of you have great plans. If not, come on up and see us. The forecast sounds pretty good. Happy trails.