It is a beautiful morning up top! It's about 22 degrees out right now. The high yesterday was 42 degrees and the low was 23 degrees. The lodge received an inch of snow overnight. The snow is fresh and provides decent traction, but I am sure there are some tricky spots beneath the powder. I would definitely recommend carrying some sort of traction devices, preferably Microspikes. Highway 441 appears to have just opened for the day.
It is always a pleasure and honor to return to my winter home. I've hiked up and down Alum a few times since I returned to the area on Monday. The distinct aroma and trademark scenery of the Smokies was pulling me in all kinds of nostalgic directions. I can't wait to continue to add more grand memories to my already rich memory bank. There is a new adventure to be had every day up here. There is no proper way to capture my excitement, as Ed Abbey said simply, 'Words fail'. I just know how it feels... and it feels sublime.
As all the readers of the blog know by now, the lodge is CLOSED for the season. There are no day hiker services available. No coffee, no hot chocolate, no warming up next to the fire, no overnight stays... just about all you can do is admire the beauty the winter months bring and relish in the joys of your self-sufficiency. The gift of winter hiking lies in the fact that with greater risk comes greater rewards. If you plan to hike in the park this winter, use all the resources available to make it the pleasant experience for yourself and others. Winter hiking can be a transcendent experience when done well - no bugs, fewer bears, no crowds, crisp air, clearer skies, seemingly infinite peace, pure comfort in a remote setting... but it can also be a time for wet boots, endless shivering nights, hands that no longer feel like hands but strange foreign pieces of rubber, frozen jeans and sweatshirts, desperation where outside help is unlikely... so please, for everyone's sake, be safe and stay within your limits. Turn around if you feel uncomfortable. The mountains will be here longer than you will. Be safe out there, folks!
11/26/2014 01:57:10 am
Good to see you LP!
11/26/2014 01:58:38 am
11/26/2014 02:35:45 am
Welcome back JP! I enjoyed your postings last year and look forward to this years. Thanks for allowing us to see the mountains through your eyes!
11/26/2014 02:36:14 am
So glad you have returned. Welcome back to your winter home!
11/26/2014 02:36:40 am
Hi JP, Glad to know you are home on Leconte. Hope to see you soon.
11/26/2014 02:55:59 am
Welcome back JP! Looking forward to seeing the mountains through your eyes and your words this winter. I don't comment very often, but I read everyday. Be safe, and hope you get lots of snow!!!
11/26/2014 03:26:26 am
Welcome back --- as you noted from Edward Abbey ... when describing these mountains -- "words fail."
11/26/2014 03:39:42 am
Welcome back to the mountain J.P. I always look forward to your musings and great pictures. I hope you get loads of snow and have a safe and happy winter season!
11/26/2014 03:54:09 am
Glad you're back J.P. I hope to see you on the trails this winter.
11/26/2014 04:44:59 am
Welcome back JP! Wishing you good snows and bobcats. Looking forward to reading your morning comments and thoughts while on the mountain.
11/26/2014 04:55:42 am
Welcome back to LaConte JP! Looking forward to "seeing" through your eyes this winter.
11/26/2014 05:58:41 am
"Words Fail" in describing how glad I am that you are back for the winter. Your daily posts of words and photos make my winter so much happier!!
Richard form MA
11/26/2014 06:16:20 am
Welcome back, JP. How was your summer in New England?
11/26/2014 07:34:22 am
just wandering if anyone has hiked to laconte this week how was the alum bluff trail thought about doing it Friday morning after thanksgiving any sugestions would help ty welcome back lp
11/26/2014 09:14:12 am
11/26/2014 08:10:53 am
Welcome back JP looking forward to reading your blog.
11/26/2014 10:51:40 am
Welcome back! Stay safe and enjoy the solitude.
11/26/2014 11:40:26 am
Welcome back JP looking forward to your post and pictures...take care and stay warm.
11/26/2014 11:49:03 am
Welcome back, JP! I really enjoyed your words from last year, and I look forward to hearing about your winter adventures up there once again. I shall live vicariously thru you for the next many months. I consider myself lucky.
11/26/2014 12:59:36 pm
Welcome home JP! Just reading your Morning Y'all puts a smile on my face! I hope you have an incredible winter!! I know we will, now that you are back!
11/26/2014 11:08:32 pm
So Happy you are Back! Let it snow, let it snow!
11/26/2014 11:39:21 pm
Welcome back J.P., wishing you more snow than you ever dreamed of, Happy Thanksgiving!!
norman the Airborne reble
11/27/2014 12:03:17 am
11/27/2014 01:35:17 am
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Welcome back. I so look forward to getting up every morning to see the post of LeConte. Enjoy!!
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