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:
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.
There was a beauty in the contrast each day brought.
Is the grass always greener on the other side? As my wise friend Joe once told me, “It’s not about the grass being greener. It’s about being content with the itch, regardless of where you lay down.”
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.
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.
"Anything that cost money is cheap" - Steinbeck
This summer, I’ll be anchoring some roots just south of Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the Nantahala National Forest. I purchased land with my brother last august and will be helping him establish his forging business, Nantahala Forge. I’ll also be working on my own home. Milling Hemlock from the land, I’ll give those beautiful giants a second life, even after the Woolly Adelgid took their first. My passion for writing and photography with continue with these pursuits. In my free-time, I’ll continue chasing my dreams of long distance mountain running. Come fall, I’ll be running the Pinhoti 100 mile race down in Alabama. The rest of the future is unplanned, as it well should be.
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 ( email@example.com )
See you all next winter!