It was nice to have a familiar face come by to visit earlier this month. While making his rounds, Dave Worth, one of the backcountry rangers for the National Park Service, stopped by the lodge to say hello. In 2010 and 2011, Dave excelled as the interpretive ranger at Mt. LeConte, teaching a great many eager youngsters about "the Salamander Capital of the World" and answering a bushel of questions about real Smoky bears.
"I'm looking forward to a really exciting season," Worth said. "The backcountry ranger position is well organized, and I'm ready to serve."
A word to the wise, if you plan on sullying the beauty of the backcountry in the Smokies, then don't plan on outrunning him. Dave through hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2008. More recently, in May 2011, he covered all 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail through the Smokies (perhaps the most lung-busting stretch from Georgia to Maine) in a mind-boggling 14 hours, 50 minutes and 22 seconds--one of the greatest feats of endurance in park history. In August 2011, Dave churned through all six trails to Mt. LeConte in 10 hours and 3 minutes.
The moral of the story is -- don't plan on evading Dave Worth unless you plan to be on the medal stand at the upcoming London Olympics.
"I hope to use my experiences in the park to further the goals of my position," Worth said. "It's important to maintain the backcountry and its resources. I want to ensure that all folks visiting the backcountry have a good experience."
It's good to know that Dave will continue to protect the park that all of us at LeConte Lodge cherish. He's a credit to the park service, and we wish him well.
As I write Saturday afternoon, cumulus clouds are dancing across the summit of Mt. LeConte, leaving us alternately soaking up the sun or enveloped in clouds. Friday's high was 57. The overnight low only dropped to 46, leaving the winter weather of earlier this week a distant memory. As of lunch, we've already surpassed Friday's high on a warm Saturday afternoon.
Come up and see us. Happy trails.