Thursday's high reached 49 degrees with an overnight low of 26. We tallied 0.34 inches of rain. As of early afternoon, the temperature hasn't risen above 33 degrees.
I expect the trails to be slippery near the summit of LeConte. However, several people have told me that they enjoyed nice weather and clear skies until the last two miles of the hike to the lodge. If the temperature falls at all tonight I expect the upper section of trails on Saturday morning to be more slippery than today because of wet conditions and refreezing.
I awoke to pretty conditions this morning. As the thermometer dipped to 26 degrees, Thursday's rain had frozen into a thin sheen of ice on my porch. It looked like an off Broadway (way off Broadway) production of "The Waltons on Ice" as I slid across my cabin porch toward the kitchen for work this morning--"Goodnight John Boy, pass the snow cream."
However, the morning was lovely with sun and good visibility down into the valley. About 10 a.m. clouds began to hem us in up on top. The heaviest snow and ice pellet showers occurred about 1:15 p.m., just as we were loading up llamas for their return trip.
The most recent forecast I heard called for about a 30 percent chance of showers and below average temperatures for the next few days. Please be prepared if you are hiking up to see us. I've seen some miserable dayhikers walking around in shorts and sandals today. I spoke to a nice couple in shorts and t-shirts this morning (who dropped by to purchase LeConte hooded sweatshirts) who spent last night in the shelter with a light sleeping bag. They said it wasn't a pleasant night. We'll keep the heaters on.
Some have asked if this is a record-late snowfall for Mt. LeConte. I've done a little research on this (dating back to the late 1970s) and will pass it along. Today's snowfall (0.5 inches as of now) marks the latest snowfall on Mt. LeConte since 1993 when we totaled 0.5 inches on May 22. Last year, our latest snow came via flurries on May 6, so a light snow in early May is the norm. The latest snowfall on Mt. LeConte since the late 1970s came on June 1, 1983 when flurries were observed.
Last night we were pleased to welcome a whole lodge of friends and descendants of the Huffs, the first family of LeConte Lodge. Perhaps I'll pass along a Jack Huff story tomorrow if things work out. Happy trails.