Good Afternoon and Happy Sunny Saturday!
Despite the possibility of late day showers, the sun has been king the last two days on the mountain. We've had some toasty temps rolling through the valley earlier this week, so use the mountain as your reprieve from the heat. We've been basking in the 60's the last few days and the occasional breeze makes it feel glorious. Our high temperature yesterday topped out at 66 degrees, while our overnight low was an incredibly mild 52. The rain struggled to get established, leaving us with a sad 0.02" of precipitation over the period.
The mountain continues to come alive as the greenery slowly makes its ascent. The Mountain Myrtle are in peak bloom at Inspiration Point, while the Catawba Rhododendron are just beginning to open up there. Several of the mid to upper elevation trees you might see in bloom would be the Fire Cherry or Service Berry trees. Regarding what's closer to the ground, Painted Trillium, Thyme-Leaved Bluets, and Yellow Bead Lily are starting to come out in force. The famous displays of Myrtle that call Cliff Tops and Myrtle Point home are still several days out from peak bloom.
We have had increased bear activity in camp and around the backcountry shelter recently. Effective since last night, the LeConte Shelter is officially closed until the NPS deems it safe to reopen for overnight visitors. All questions and reservations pertaining to the shelter are of course handled by the NPS, not the lodge. As we regularly advise our guests, please be responsible with your belongings and behaviors around bears. Don't leave doors to unoccupied buildings open, keep your belongings that carry scents inside, and don't entice the animals with your packs or food. Stay in groups, make noise, stand on higher ground, and alert a crew member should you see one.
The photograph you see above is that of the Rufus Morgan Shelter located along the Appalachian Trail, taken this past week while ascending Wesser Bald. It resides about 1.0 mile south of the iconic Nantahala River crossing at the NOC on Hwy 19. Rev. Rufus Morgan has interesting ties to Mt. LeConte, having hiked the mountain 172 times well into his 90s, even with deteriorating eye sight. He made lasting contributions to this mountainous region, and one that is unique to this lodge is that his preferred table of choice is currently named in his honor. Morgan Table sits closest to our Dining Hall's propane heater, while most others' names are in reference to cardinal directions, size, or shape. If you've ever had the pleasure of feasting on one of our famous meals at this table, now you know a bit more about its special history.
Welcome to the official blog of LeConte Lodge. We hope you find the information provided here both helpful and enjoyable. Thank you for visiting the site, and we hope to see you on the mountain!