4:00 PM Update:
The sun is working its magic on melting the snow away. Patches of green are starting to reappear, but there's still plenty of crunchy white powder covering the mountain. Temperatures rocketed up the thermometer throughout the day, as much as 25 degrees by lunchtime. Despite the warmer temps today, the shady areas around camp and on trail are steadfast in holding on to their slick surfaces, so be sure and have those traction devices on the ready. US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) reopened to traffic around lunchtime today. Guests coming up for our final night will have access to Alum Cave and The Boulevard.
The llama wranglers made their penultimate trip of the season today, their last haul coming on Closing Day this Wednesday. Given that we have two rotations of packers, today marked this particular team's final trip of the season. They'll be excited about getting set loose in the pastures for a few months this winter. They've more than earned their time to rest up and eat heartily back at the cozy confines of the ranch. We've said it before and we'll say it again, we're extremely grateful for the work put in by our wranglers and lovable llamas year after year. It's no cakewalk, and they put in a tremendous effort to get the lodge its various supplies in a timely manner while also taking amazing care of our favorite famous animals.
We're also witnessing the culmination of greatness with a loaded graduating class of fine llamas. Clifford, who's been packing as long as Alan has been wrangling, led his team up the mountain for the final time today. He's joined by Flash, already enjoying the spoils of retirement, and eventually Chester, who will saddle up for the last time Wednesday. These three load-luggers have been reliable in their service. They're also considered members of the family when you get to know them through the years, as our wranglers will surely tell you. Way to go, guys! Some of these closing cups of hot chocolate will certainly be raised in your honor.
Tomorrow is our final full day for business this season. The weather should be splendid leading up to the holiday. If you're still waiting to get any of the 2017 "I Hiked It" merchandise, Tuesday will be your last opportunity. The same can be said for the hot chocolate, sack lunches, and delicious assortment of cookies. Come Wednesday morning, everything will get boarded up, and there won't be anything for sale or open buildings to warm up in until mid-March.
Have a great start to the week.
8:45 AM Update:
We're working our way out of the frigid cold. The skies are clear and the sun is making its ascent. Our low temperature last night eventually bottomed out at 12 degrees, but this morning is already warmer than yesterday ever got as we're currently pushing our way through the mid-20's. We should finally see some some snow melt today, so trail conditions will shift from slick or crunchy to all-out slushy. Continue to use caution as you reach the upper elevations. US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) is still closed this morning, but conditions will certainly turn favorable for the NPS road crews in their efforts to clear it. Guests are once again encouraged to use Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap Trails today for visiting the mountain.
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!