We received some rain last night, measuring 0.41 inches. We charted rain for three consecutive days, but it didn't always fall in torrents and caused us little problem at the lodge. Wednesday was also a little cooler with a high-low temperature of 52 and 38.
In her book Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott wrote: "Here are the two best prayers I know: 'Help me, help me, help me' and 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.'" In Thursday's update, I focus on the latter. I've said it before and still firmly believe LeConte Lodge boasts the best guests in the Smokies.
Two of the nicest people in Ohio hiked down this morning after another delightful (from our perspective) stay at LeConte. A couple of years ago, the Parkisons wanted my advice on helping plan a trip to Yellowstone, where I worked one summer as a horse wrangler and a winter as a guide. They're friendly folks, always so joyous and appreciative of the spirit of LeConte Lodge, and I was happy to give my advice on things to see. I told them that, yes it's touristy, but you absolutely must go see Old Faithful. Not only that, but it's good luck tradition to eat the local specialty, made-in-Montana Wilcoxson's Huckleberry ice cream while taking in Old Faithful.
When the Parkisons returned to LeConte last September, their son did so with a bag in tow. He told me to be careful opening it. I upzipped the bag and the telltale white wisps of dry ice escaped. Carol and Gene bought the LeConte Lodge crew two pints of Wilcoxson's Huckleberry ice cream in Yellowstone, hauled it across 90-degree heat in the Great Plains and safely secured it in their Ohio freezer until they could hike it up to the crown of the Smokies. It was just one of a plethora of extravagant gestures of kindness we witness living on LeConte.
Frequent day hiker (and High on LeConte commenter) Larry hiked up an Easter ham and pineapple cake mix for the LeConte crew--neither of which made for a light pack for him. People have sent fruit, Swiss army knives, ribs, books, beignet mix, soft drinks and all matter of luxuries to us up top. Please understand this is NOT a request or a plea. We don't NEED ANYTHING here at the lodge except a continual stream of friendly people who appreciate the mountain as much as we do. I hope there's never a shortage of such people because they constantly make this a happier place to live and protect.
Additionally, David Scanlon came up today for his 962nd hike to LeConte Lodge. David never has a bad day up here, and is quick with a smile for all the crew and dayhikers he visits. Without prompting, I noticed David emptying out the collected rainwater from the llama troughs--helping out a certain lodge assistant manager on a very busy morning. David was just happy to make sure the llamas wouldn't have soggy food to eat on their special Thursday trip. Continuing the thanks, the park service trail crew hauled heavy chainsaws up Trillium Gap Trail to remove the fallen tree, helping out hikers and allowing our llamas access to the lodge. There's nothing easy about a trail crew job.
We were also pleased to welcome Katie and Dean Davis of Georgia. Their son bought them a stay on LeConte for a Christmas gift (and we're glad he did). "He always gets us something where we have to walk," Katie said. "I think he's trying to tell us something." Katie told me she was raised with wood stoves and kerosene lamps, so LeConte (even though we now have replaced wood and kerosene heat with propane) is right up her alley.
Again, this isn't a request for anything--just an acknowledgement that we wouldn't be here without such fine guests. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Happy trails.