Hello to all of you from the top of LeConte. A moderate shower is helping knock off the yellow and brown leaves from the mountain ash trees around the mountain top. Most of the day we've been surrounded by thick clouds. The visibility has been so limited it looks like someone's dunked LeConte into a cereal bowl of milk (watered down skim milk since a short shower began about 1:45 p.m.).
When the weather broke Saturday, however, conditions were a different story. It seemed the cloud layer hovered near the lodge in a unique way. The sun was shining above us, but all through the air tiny particles of mist chased each other in the sunlight. This was much different from our normal experience of filaments of cloud wafting through camp, but most interesting.
Sunset proved spectacular. At first, the deck of the cloud layer hung just above us. This caused the effect of the sunset colors bouncing off the bottom of the clouds and painting the bleached white spruce and fir trunks yellow and orange. As the sunset progressed, however, we stood above a thick layer of clouds burying the valley. Thus, we got the feel of sunset in an airplane, with the clouds walling off the world below. The night was no slouch either, as I heard a couple different folks said they saw shooting stars. Indeed, the sky was magnificently dark and clear until just after midnight. Saturday's high and low temperatures registered 67 and 51 with a scant 0.06 inches of rain.
Today I want to introduce you to one of the stars on the back of the 2014 LeConte Lodge t-shirt--Pete. "Sweet Pete," as llama wrangler Chrissy calls him, is the only nutmeg-colored llama in our string. He's also the smallest working llama on the farm at 253 pounds, but don't let his diminutive stature fool you.
"He is mighty for small," Chrissy said. "He's never a fuss. Plus, he lets you pet him and love on him. He's the easiest to work with on the farm and at the lodge."
Pete follows Chuck in the string because he is the only llama that can tolerate him. Chuck is evidently a good citizen when he's at the farm, but the trailer ride and hike up the mountain brings out the professional wrestler side of Chuck's personality. For all those reasons and more, Pete is former LeConte Lodge crew member Bonnie Northrup's favorite llama. We all like him, too. Thanks Pete for being one of the best of the best.
Hope you all had a nice weekend. Happy trails.
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