As anticipated, Mt. LeConte was a busy place to be yesterday. And with more fine weather on tap, today could be more of the same. We’re starting off in the clouds this Sunday, but they are expected to lift and bring us more sunshine again today. Light winds will hang around the peaks. Temps are in the low 40s for breakfast and we ought to rise into the mid 50s this afternoon. We’re down to 12 hours of daylight now, with the sun setting before 7:30 PM. So make sure if you’re on a day hike you know when to turn around and depart the summit with enough light to get down. Especially if you aren’t use to treks in the dark.
Please join us in congratulating our own crew member, Austin Funderburg, on completing the Tour de LeConte Challenge yesterday. The nearly 45 mile escapade that traverses all six trails on the mountain in full, and incurring three summits, is not for the faint of heart. Austin has been preparing for the moment all season, actively hiking and running our trails every chance he gets. What makes his completion even more interesting is that it’s the first “reverse” Tour ever to be achieved to our knowledge. That is, starting and ending at the lodge instead of down below. So when the majority of completers at least have the assistance of gravity bringing them down the final stretch, imagine having to dig deep to make that last ascent after already covering 35+ miles. So kudos to Austin on a good show, knocking out the challenge in under 17.5 hours time. Austin now joins lodge employees Greg Donahue, John Northrup, Bonnie Northrup, and Phillip Clarkson as Tour champions.
Have a great weekend.