It’s currently 13 degrees and crystal clear up top. There is currently 5” inches of snow on the ground.
24 hour temperature range: High 13 Low 6
*US Hwy 441/Newfound Gap Rd from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC is open.
Stay up to date on road conditions here:
Tripod in one hand - coffee in the other, I followed fox prints toward sunrise. It was going to be a snow covered bluebird morning. Quite a fitting end to the season I thought as I trudged through the purple hued snow. As always, the sun wasn’t going to wait, regardless of how significant the morning was to me. Buzzing, I took another sip of coffee and continued moving at a brisk pace. I would make it - I had to make it…
What to make of these 3 1/2 months living on Mt. Le Conte. The cold, the beauty, the indifference of mother nature. Each day living on Le Conte brought a contrast that can only be found in the wilds. From witnessing a sunrise that numbs the mind and soothes the soul - to struggling to breath as you carry 14 gallons of water from a frozen solid spring you had to smash free with a sledge hammer. Just using the restroom required an adventurous hike through camp. Ever felt a - 8 degree draft while sitting on the pot? Don't get me started.
…Stepping to the edge of Apollo Overlook, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as the first rays of sunshine kissed my cheeks. The image in front of me danced around in my mind. I finally grasped what my eyes were seeing, permanently storing the image in the deep catalogs of my mind. I took one last sip of coffee and made for Myrtle Point.
What I didn’t expect to experience on the mountain was the incredible community that cherishes this geological formation. I’ve never seen such a dedicated following for a mountain. The love for Mt. Le Conte was palpable, day in and day out. From swapping stories with caretaker’s past to hearing the scream of someone’s first sunset on Cliff Tops - Mt. Le Conte excelled at finding a place to rest in many a travelers heart.
An untouched Myrtle Point lay before me. Even my neighbor, the fox, did me the courtesy of leaving it free of footprints. Standing there as the sun illuminated the eastern flank of Clingmans Dome, I couldn’t help but to think about the future - the changing of the season…
Well, Seth - now what? I’ve heard this question asked many times. I’ve even asked myself a few times. For the last three years, I’ve invested my summers in the wilds of America. I hiked the Appalachian Trail, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, biked 4,700 miles across the country - I invested in memories and experiences to pass down to my grandchildren. I intend to continue these investments, but this year will be a different plan of action.
Walking down the lodge steps, I noticed the lack of boards on the dinning room doors. Change was coming, fast. The new crew was enjoying breakfast in Pigeon Forge and would be hiking their way up this afternoon. With their arrival, my winter season would officially be over.
My whole life lay tucked away in my red backpack. Again, I would be transitioning with the seasons. “So it goes,” I thought as I lugged the overstuffed pack on my back.
Waving farewell - I descend toward a different story…another dream.
Until next winter...
Onward and Upward,
Seth “Cap” Orme
P.s - Thank you all so much for commenting on my posts and sharing your loving words this winter! My internet was limited to a small 5 gigabyte booster - so responding to all the comments wasn’t always feasible. Regardless, I read them all and truly appreciate your kindness. I’m glad I could share my love for the outdoors with you all!
P.s.s - I’ll be doing a plethora of things this summer. One of them is to continue writing and taking photos. I will have a proper platform to share new adventures with those who would like to follow. You can follow me on facebook or instagram ( @_orme ) or shoot me an email if you’d like to be updated when I begin sharing other adventures ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
See you all next winter!
“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is” - Jim Carrey
Welcome to the official blog of LeConte Lodge. We hope you find the information provided here both helpful and enjoyable. Thank you for visiting the site, and we hope to see you on the mountain!