July 3, 2014
Good afternoon to you. After two days of sunshine, we've found ourselves enveloped in a cloud Thursday. On Wednesday, we topped out at 74 degrees, matching Tuesday's yearly high. Our overnight low was 52 degrees with no precipitation.
Thursday's cloud is so pervasive that you can feel moisture condense on your lips as you move around camp. You can even see wisps of cloud float through the window screens. The llamas appreciated the sunblock during their special Thursday trip to LeConte. The llamas will be keeping bankers' hours and take off July 4. We will be open for all services at LeConte Lodge.
The forecast for the weekend is favorable. I expect we'll see a great many first-time hikers. In the chance that some of those are studying for their first ascent of LeConte, I'll pass along a few things as far as trail etiquette goes.
After seeing the beautiful white rosebay rhododendrons blooming along Little River Road through the park, I was dismayed to see too many "white flags of surrender" hanging from some trees beside Alum Cave Bluff Trail. Bathroom breaks are a part of hiking, but toilet paper should never be left in the trees or on the ground beside the trail. Toilet paper doesn't disappear as quickly as you think. The Smokies are beautiful and in no need of further decoration.
Also, most people know not to litter and are fairly diligent about packing out their food wrappers. However, the little corners ripped off to open the package show up on the ground at the lodge all the time, as they tend to fall out of pockets.
Pistachios are a wonderful trail snack. However, their shells last forever and should be designated with a "half-life" like plutonium. Similarly, discarded chewing gum is impervious even to our tough mountain weather. If the weather can break down our buildings, but not chewing gum I'm steering clear of it. Please pack both of those things out with you.
I hope it never happens, but someday when the great Yellowstone Supervolcano erupts and people become past tense, there will be three things left on Earth. There will be a cockroach living in a house cobbled together from pistachio shells and discarded chewing gum.
I know most of you reading already know all this, but maybe you'll be hiking with a newcomer this summer and can get them off to a clean start in our wonderful national parks. Come on up and see us. Happy trails.
7/3/2014 08:58:17 am
7/3/2014 09:06:17 am
That's the first time I've ever seen a photo of the Llamas like that, I love it! Awesome!! I've always wondered what they looked like when they are packed and on the way. Now I know. Thank you for posting this. And the comment about the three things surviving a blast from the super volcano in Yellowstone, that is a good one! Who ever thought that gum was biodegradable... very confused. And have you ever stepped on a pistachio shell barefooted? Never. Again. Ever.
7/3/2014 09:07:02 am
Another important thing to mention is the proper disposal banana peels, apple cores, and other food remains. Some folks seem to feel that just because something is biodegradable, they're not trash. Its is, plus it attracts bears.
tomk in SC
7/3/2014 10:06:52 am
It looks like the anonymous llamas are wearing masks that are somewhere between Batman and Darth Vader. Who are those llamas behind the masks?
7/3/2014 10:29:20 am
Janet, there is a great YouTube video on the Llamas. I was fortunate to see the Llamas making there way down Trillium Gap a couple of summers back!! It was the thrill of my trip. I will never make the hike to the lodge but have been to Grotto Falls many times!! Such beauty!
7/3/2014 03:28:11 pm
Thanks Barbara! I will have to see if I can find it. I think it would be so awesome to see the Llamas on the trail, I bet that was an amazing sight for you to see! I have been to Grotto Falls, and on up to Rainbow Falls. I have also been on the Bullhead trail some. But never all the way to the lodge. Same with Alum Cave Bluff, Been to the Bluff... but no further. One of these days maybe I will make it to the lodge just to see it! But I'd sure like to see those Llamas too!!!
7/3/2014 08:06:37 pm
Yes Janet, I found 2 YouTube videos; 1 is 6:20 min called Liama train to LeConte and the other 1 is :36 sec at the Lodge.
Very well stated Nathan, regarding garbage and trash and such along the trails ! Even the smallest bit of trash is littering and an eyesore. I have also spoken to people out on the trails when I've observed them discarding bits of garbage but I must confess that I have not always been as "tactful" as others, instead getting directly to the point I want to make to these unthinking individuals. If I've made anyone mad, then hopefully it's served to wake these folks up to throwing down their trash.
7/4/2014 05:10:44 am
Hopefully Doug it helps.. There is too many people in this world that just don't CARE....Some want to fight if you say any thing to them!
7/4/2014 05:52:47 am
By being as tactful as you can, you stand a better chance of getting through to someone. I'll admit, it's not always easy. In the case of the couple I was talking about on Mt. Cammerer, I'd been having a very pleasant conversation with them when the banana peel tossing incident occurred. By being tactful, she got the point and did agree with what I was saying.
7/5/2014 02:34:42 am
I do know one of the llamas loves banana peels. We found this out last year.
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