Caroline pieced together a fine Sunday feast for the crew, our most anticipated meal of the week. She drafted the menu using her mother's New England fall cooking as inspiration. We enjoyed apple cider pot roast, roasted vegetables with maple mustard glaze, winter greens salad, twice-baked potatoes, baguettes and apple cranberry pie with cheddar crust. We also have plenty of leftover days and eat lots of pasta and rice to meet our food budget, but Allyson and Caroline always do a good job feeding us.
I'm wrong about many things, but my prediction for a lovely autumn was spot on. We certainly paid our dues slogging through a soaker of a summer, but most of September, October and November have showcased this venerable rock of LeConte.
Saturday proved nice, too, though the skies became overcast as we moved into the afternoon. The high topped out at 47 with a low of 31, pretty seasonal weather for the top of Tennessee in November. The cooler weather has intensified the clarity for stargazing.
Monday's forecast is favorable, too, though it would be hard to top today's conditions. However, if the forecast holds, the weather prognostication for Tuesday brings changes as colder air and the possibility of snow enter the forecast.
The trail conditions are fine today. We've seen lots of day hikers this weekend who've encountered little trouble on the trails. But this week could be more difficult if we receive winter weather up top. If you're coming to see us please make sure you're prepared for a winter hike up LeConte. If we do have ice and snow on the trail, some sort of traction devices (crampons or something similar) could save your life. They weigh next to nothing considering how much better they can make your day.
Also, please make certain you pack a dependable source of trail light (flashlight, headlamp, etc.) with extra batteries. Daylight is deceptively short after the switch to Standard Time. I always pack two headlamps. That way if one set of batteries dies out, I can put on the spare and immediately replace the batteries in the first headlamp so I always have a spare.
Also, you never know when you may meet someone in a heap of trouble on the trail and need significantly more time (and light) to reach your objective. Like ice traction devices, good lights aren't that heavy when you consider a dark trip up or down LeConte without them. I've met thousands of LeConte hikers and never heard anyone say, "I just sprained my ankle and my feet are freezing. The howling wind is driving sleet into my face. Daylight is long gone, and I can't see where the layer of ice on the trail ends and the dropoff begins. I sure am glad I didn't pack a flashlight to get home safely."
We'd be glad to see you. Just make sure you do your due diligence to make your LeConte hike a safe and enjoyable one. Happy trails.