I took this photo on the spine of the trail leading to Myrtle Point. This shot looks south toward Clingman's Dome. The photo at the bottom was taken looking north on the other side of LeConte at the same time. They illustrate the difficulty of predicting weather and quality of sunrises and sunsets on LeConte.
Good afternoon to everyone. Things are hopping on the mountain as the Smokies swell with October visitors. I don't blame them; the mountains are wonderful. I worked 17 hours yesterday, and today looks to be every bit as busy as we welcome even more guests and day hikers.
Today I'm writing about the difficulty of predicting the weather on Mt. LeConte. We were talking about the forecast the other day when Walt reminded me of an old saying I hadn't heard in a long time. "Only fools and flatlanders try to predict the weather in the mountains." I'm about to give you the weather report, and I'm no flatlander (which puts me squarely in the fool camp I guess).
Thursday saw a high of 61 and low of 36. It was beautiful almost all day. So far Friday reminds me of its predecessor. It's been another pretty day at LeConte Lodge. The weekend forecast I heard this morning called for increased chance of precipitation moving through Saturday and into Sunday plus significantly lower temperatures. For those of you hiking up, I expect we'll be below freezing for overnight lows at least two nights in the very near future. All of this means that the crew will be paying particular attention to the LeConte Guess the First Snow Contest.
In general, we receive much more precipitation (rain and snow) than the other folks in the Tennessee Valley. Until you've lived up here you just can't imagine how fast the clouds move over the mountain. It's something to behold. We're often living in the cloud as folks in the valley are enjoying sunny skies. If they look up at the summit of LeConte from below, we're often donning a sombrero of clouds.
As a crew member you're often asked how sunset or sunrise should look; is it worth hiking out to see? The truth is most days we can only guess as there's a fine line between being clouded in and experiencing a sunset you'll remember for a lifetime. Sunset can even be a dramatically different experience in the short 0.2 miles from the lodge to Cliff Tops. Just a few days ago, the cloud layers parted just enough at sunset to allow the colors to bounce between the layers of clouds and paint the summit pink. It looked like a sunset layer cake.
So, if a crew member is hesitant to predict the prospects for a sunset or sunrise, they're just being honest. It can change in a hurry. Here's hoping you get a memorable one for your next trip up LeConte. Feel free to write about your favorite LeConte sunrise or sunset in the comments section. Happy trails.
Like the above photo, this shot was taken on the spine of the trail leading to Myrtle Point, this time looking to the north (on the Pigeon Forge side of LeConte). Keep in mind that both of today's photos were taken from the same spot in the trail within 30 seconds of each other with dramatically different views.
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!