It started raining about 2:30 a.m. and we've had intermittent showers since. While the rain hasn't been constant, the cloud enveloping us has. Friday's high notched 64 degrees with a low of 48. We received 0.19 inches of rain overnight with more expected. That marked our first measurable rain on LeConte since last Saturday, a veritable drought on this green mountain.
I promised you a couple of Cookie Bowling stories in yesterday's update. For those of you who didn't read yesterday, Cookie grew up on LeConte helping her family, the Huffs, run the lodge. She came up for a visit a couple of days ago and was generous in her accounts of life on the mountain. We discussed secret LeConte Lodge hot chocolate recipes from across the ages (the secret ingredient is elevation).
Cookie recalled a scary injury while working on the mountain. As a girl, she enjoyed catching white-faced bumblebees (they don't sting). Cookie kept her pet bumblebees in glass jars. To make certain her pets could breathe she needed to poke holes in the metal lid of the jars. Cookie accomplished this task with an ice pick, which worked well except for the time she pierced her hand rather than the lid.
Cookie also related her favorite LeConte bear story. Cookie, her mother Pauline and her brother Philip were running the lodge while her father Jack was working down below in Gatlinburg. One night to Pauline's horror she discovered that the bear door wasn't closed and one of the bruins had slipped in and was pillaging her kitchen.
We have an old-school phone in the dining room. It's the real deal, not a prop--even though it doesn't work now. However, it wasn't connecting fast enough for Pauline's liking as the bear rifled through the kitchen. She cranked and cranked until she finally reached her husband Jack in Gatlinburg. She told him about her predicament and, being powerless to resolve the situation as he was off the mountain, Jack told her to "run it off" and then hung up the phone.
Armed with a flashlight, Pauline took a couple of trays and pretended she was playing the cymbals. The racket spooked the bear into heading out of the kitchen for more peaceful environs. Pauline, Philip and Cookie stayed up the rest of the night in the kitchen with lanterns blazing.
Thanks to Cookie for sharing her stories. We've had several dayhikers stop by today, but I think the weather might put a damper on the weekend crowd. We'd still be glad to have you hike up, just make sure you plan for plenty of water on the trail this weekend. Happy trails.