The forecast calls for improving conditions during the next few days. If we get about three sunny days soon the flowers will explode all around the lodge grounds. The flowers really put on an impressive (albeit too brief) show up top--our answer to Dollywood's fireworks show. The purple monkshood are already blooming. Just yesterday I saw the first hints of crimson bee balm. By far the most numerous will be the coneflowers, with yellow petals and a brown center. This time next week you should be able to take a photo of all three of these LeConte favorites, maybe even in the same frame. The best place to look is between the hot water spigot off the exterior wall of the kitchen and lodge No. 2, though there's no shortage of beauty up here. We do ask that people not tramp through the flowers so others can enjoy them, too.
In trail news, this afternoon I received a report of fresh bear tracks in the mud around the Rocky Spur area of Rainbow Falls Trail. That doesn't mean you need to change any plans, just use good sense to protect you and our neighbor bears.
While they're unlikely to win any photography contests, I thought I'd post an interior and exterior photo of a portion of the work recently completed on our office. The construction task was to buttress and support the wall of the building nearest the toilets, and a variety of methods were used.
Also, today I recall the four-year anniversary of one of my most memorable days on LeConte. On July 20, 2010, my first year working the LeConte Lodge crew, I was taking a CPR/first aid course taught on the mountain that the company wisely offers all staff members to help us assist hikers in difficulty.
One of my fellow staff members working the kitchen shift, knocked on the door of the room where we were doing our training and said, "Nathan, you got a phone call and you're an uncle." She then turned around and walked right out without any explanation. This was a big surprise to me, as my new nephew was supposed to be delivered by planned C-section on a specific day in mid-August. I had arranged my August off days from LeConte to be present for the birth, as I had missed the birth of my first nephew three years earlier while I was horse wrangling in Hawaii.
Thus, the July 20 call was early and unexpected. However, little Colton was undersized, early and anxious to meet the world. Needless to say, it was a little hard to focus on splinting injuries during first aid class the rest of the day. Looking up this morning at the sign above the dining room and reading "July 20, 2014" brought back some happy memories from four years ago.
It's not unheard of for crew members to have new additions to their family born while working at LeConte Lodge, though it's rare for guests. Former crew member Bethany became an aunt up here twice last year. I will say I hope we don't have any births ON the mountain, as that's an episode of "Little House on the Prairie" waiting to happen. Happy trails.