We added 0.2 inches of rain to our October total and hovered in the narrow range of 39 to 33 degrees for our high and low. We'll be warmer than that Friday, however.
Every couple of months I'll try to take one of the most commonly asked guest questions crew members receive and try to shed a little light on the answer during my High on LeConte posts. Today's answer deals with the length of the season and offseason.
This season the LeConte Lodge crew hiked up on Friday, March 14 to take care of the preseason work of getting the lodge ready for business. We opened to overnight guests on Monday, March 24 this year. We stay open seven days a week until the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Nov. 26 this year, when the crew hikes down for good and the LeConte winter caretaker begins.
Lots of folks think the season is quite a bit shorter than it is, say May through October, and are surprised that we see snow on both bookends of the season. Other folks are surprised we close at all. Probably once a week I'll talk to someone who has never heard of the lodge and is quite surprised to stumble upon our "village" on top of Tennessee.
That leaves about three and a half months of offseason before time to report for the next season on LeConte. "What do you do in the winter?" ranks among the most asked questions by guests, somewhere between "Where are the bathrooms?" and "Can I ride a llama back down the mountain?"
Allyson earlier filled you in on some people's offseason plans. Some choose to catch their breath and take it easy during the winter. Working LeConte is a great adventure, but it's not relaxing. Others choose to return home to their families and catch up on lost time. Most of us need to pay bills, so we try to find a short-term assignment until time to hike up again. One of the most popular options is to save the season's wages and take a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I guess between the lodge staff and the llama wranglers we've set foot on all seven continents during the last decade's offseasons.
On Saturday, unless plans change, I'll try to fill you in on my offseason plans and my last winter. A hint, one involves dodging frozen bison manure and the other involves having my shower delayed by a hippopotamus--both unlikely events on LeConte.
The weather on LeConte is lovely. Come up and see us. Happy trails.