Thursday's high reached 62 degrees with an overnight low of 48. Our sprinkles yesterday amounted to 0.22 inches of rain. A couple of crew members celebrated the beginning of summer with an early hike out to Myrtle Point to greet the sunrise before their breakfast shift. From my vantage point at the lodge the sunrise was muted, but my fellow crew members said the show was better at Myrtle Point. From that point, it didn't take long for the cloud to swallow us.
For two days I've trotted out a sunny forecast during breakfast announcements--and for two days we've seen precious little of that golden orb. We've not had too much rain either, just a heaping helping of gray. Although this is the longest day of the year (sunrise at 6:18 a.m and sunset at 8:53 p.m. near LeConte), the sun hasn't been working overtime for us on the mountain. The solar water pump has been starved for most of the last week, leaving us to resort to a gasoline pump to provide water for the lodge.
One of my most memorable summer solstice days came in 2009 when I was wrangling horses in Alaska. There, the sun truly does work overtime. On solstice day, there wasn't a minute overnight that I couldn't have gone outside to read a book. There is also a summer solstice tradition in Alaska for a midnight first pitch at a minor league baseball game in a stadium without lights. No baseball at LeConte Lodge tonight (though we certainly have enough guests to fill out several teams); I'll leave my ice cleats stowed away for later (much later, I hope).