From my perspective, Walt's travels rate impressive. He didn't mention all of them in his bio (which is his right), but Johnny Cash may have been singing about Walt in "I've Been Everywhere." Walt can also flat out fly on the trail, hence the "Fastest from Lascassas." More importantly, Walt's a fine cabinmate. It's a rare and impressive person who can be described as a good neighbor and aspiring banjo picker with only a thin wall between you. I'll turn the rest of the bio over to Walt before closing with the weather report.
I returned to these mountains from western states where I spent most of my 20s. I guided and worked as a field ecologist before coming to work at LeConte. A summer in the San Juan Islands whet my appetite for life in the Pacific Northwest. The snow-covered volcanoes rising above Puget Sound drew me west of the Cascades. After finishing degrees at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., I continued to do field work and began climbing again. Through-hikes of the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails led to climbs in the High Sierra and Cascades. I couldn't get enough of the mountains and freedom found in the backcountry. I still can't.
Walt grew up in Lascassas, Tenn. He enjoys plant ecology, literature and trail runs in the Smoky Mountains.
Now for the LeConte weather report. After the weather broke about midmorning, Tuesday's skies have been filled with a healthy dose of sunshine, allowing us to peak down in the valley. However, the clouds seem to be rising up from the valley. The forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain Tuesday with a chance of severe weather. Wednesday's forecast sounds much nicer.
We didn't end up with any severe weather on Monday, just one of the most sustained windy days I remember in my two seasons on LeConte. We also received a whopping 2.74 inches of rain, most of it coming overnight. The 2.74-inch rain tally made Oct. 1 unofficially the second-wettest day since May at LeConte Lodge. The temperatures were kind of odd for a second day in a row. The high temperature of 55 was recorded at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, usually the coldest time of day. The low of 49 came just after Monday morning's weather observation.