Greetings, The clouds that were covering the valley all of Monday finally broke free last night, so it looks like everyone in East Tennessee, regardless of elevation, will get to partake of the wonderful sunshine today. Temperatures dropped sharply last night to 25 degrees before returning to the freezing mark by breakfast. Our high yesterday was 40. We're expecting repetitive conditions the next few days, so it should make for some great hiking weather. Come on up and see us if you can!
2017 Season in Pictures - Part I
With the season winding down and the lodge a week away from serving its last overnight guests, we'll go back through the calendar and relive some of the pictorial highlights from 2017. Enjoy a look back at months January through April!
6-time Winter Caretaker, JP Krol, slides into January 2017. The weather may have been milder than he had hoped, but JP made sure to enjoy what snow days he got to the max! Photo courtesy of Grace Pezzella.
The snow and rain from the winter got the year off to the kind of start it needed coming off an extreme drought. Grotto Falls along the Trilium Gap Trail roars as it should in February. Photo courtesy of JP Krol.
Less than ideal flying conditions and 7" of snow delay the annual airlift resupply, and inevitably Opening Day for the season. The scenery, nevertheless, is breathtaking.
For several days in mid-March, the crew battled with snow and wind to keep paths clear. Even when we couldn't fly, there's always plenty of work to be done in the preseason. Head Cook, Heather Barker, doing her best imitation of a Popsicle while out shoveling. Photo courtesy of Tim Line.
Winter finally decided to show up in mid-March at the absolute wrong time. Snow accumulations for the system topped out at 7", but the real story were the frigid temperatures. On a couple occasions Mt. LeConte dropped below 0 degrees, it's lowest reading coming in at -3.2 one night. Preventing pipes from freezing became a top priority.
Airlift operations for the 2017 season conclude on March 23rd, and after a brief delay, the lodge opens for business on March 24th. Kudos to the amazing skills of the folks at Construction Helicopters in bringing us our annual supplies.
Weathering and thousands upon thousands of footsteps took their toll on the Dining Hall steps. Once the airlift was complete, work promptly began on replacing the old stone work.
After three days of some intense labor, the grand staircase was shiny and new. Each individual block weighing about 435 pounds apiece. The new steps have been a topic of discussion among visitors all season, and rightfully so. The work done was nothing short of masterful.
The first week of April slammed Mt. LeConte with another 8" of snow and chilly temperatures. By that point, the llamas were already into their routine. Still blanketed by their winter wool coats, they were troopers and continued to do their jobs well alongside our fantastic wranglers.
April 30th was the mountain's first day to tap 70 degrees for the year. The end of the month also saw our yearly rain total reach 26", in four months already accounting for half of 2016's total liquid precipitation.
We'll revisit the arrival of spring and enter the heat of summer in the next installment. Have a great day.