The rains moved in last night and pelted us pretty good. However, I like the rain best at night, as all of our guests are snugly tucked in their beds and off the trail. We ended up measuring 1.7 inches of rain overnight, making it the second rainiest day of the year on LeConte. Yesterday's total of 1.7 inches falls behind only the 2.0 inches we received on Jan. 10.
It has rained five of the last six days. We needed the rain, but I hope it doesn't signal a trend like last year. In 2013, it started raining in May and didn't let up until September. Wednesday's high was 63 degrees with an overnight low of 43. It's been raining on and off throughout Thursday.
I saw a couple of wild critters on my descent and return trip. On my way down Alum Cave Bluff Trail last week just before dark, I ran across a bear about 0.2 mile above Arch Rock. This bear was about 170 pounds and looked healthy. Upon hearing me coming down the trail, the bear scampered down the hill, across the drainage and started up another hill before stopping to figure me out. That's exactly the kind of behavior you want to see with a wild bear. We were both living life, minding our own business and sharing the mountain.
We did have a report two nights ago of a bear at the LeConte backcountry shelter. However, the bear wasn't seen last night. At any rate, make sure you're careful with your food, packs and don't leave anything on your porch if you're coming to see us.
The wildest critter of all I saw in the Alum Cave Bluff Trail parking lot. There was a dog nearby its owner that had been transformed into some sort of canine diva. The dog had poofs of hair teased out over various parts of its body. Some of the hair had been dyed purple. From my vantage point, it also appeared that the dog had some designs shaved into its hair and was wearing some tailored clothes that certainly cost more than the ratty hiking gear I was wearing. The owners were keeping the dog near the parking lot. As you all probably know, pets are prohibited (with the exception of legitimate service animals) on all the trails to LeConte. The owners appeared to be following the law. That's a good thing because if that diva dog met up with the bear I saw a few days earlier--my money's on the bear.
I hope you all have a fine afternoon. Happy trails.