The optimistic reader will say that a low of 55 degrees and occasional overnight rain makes for perfect sleeping weather--and that's exactly right. The pessimistic reader may say that 16 consecutive days of measurable rain (although July 17 was just 0.01 inches) is enough to turn a man into a salamander--and that's exactly right. The only days this July in which we've recorded no rain at LeConte Lodge are July 1, 3 and 5. Saturday, July 21 will not be added to that trio as we've already received a couple of showers.
Truth be known, the weather really hasn't been unpleasant. We're getting a pretty good variety of weather with occasional glimpses of the sun. The sight of some of the towering clouds we've seen, edges gilded with reflected sunlight, has been nothing short of majestic--especially at sunset. Plus, very few of the rains have been heavy enough to rank as frog stranglers. I think the bears are hoping that a wet July might rescue the blackberry crop from a dry late June. We won't know that answer until August.
On Friday, I talked about the importance of the LeConte spring and how it was rediscovered in July 1925, paving the way for the formation of LeConte Lodge. There were two more critical events in LeConte history that happened that July 1925.
On July 11, 1925, the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association (I'll give you three guesses where this group's members thought the premier national park in the East should be located) authorized Paul Adams (a towering figure in LeConte history who may be discussed more in months to come) to establish a more permanent camp on LeConte.
Five days later on July 16, 1925, the camp at LeConte welcomed its first paying guests. No, the guests weren't among the bushel of Sevier County Partons, Reagans or Ogles. The first paying guests hailed from the Windy City. O.M. Shantz of Chicago, Ill., brought a party of 12 up to spend the night. The Shantz dozen rang up a massive $36 lodging charge at $3 a head. Stop on by the dining room between noon and 4 p.m., and we'd be glad to sell you a bottomless cup of lemonade, coffee or hot chocolate for $3 in 2012. Overnight lodging and meals will set you back a little more than $3 now.
Thanks for your kind words and for reading High on LeConte. Because of a unique work schedule in July, Allyson and I will both be off the mountain for the next few days. Thus, there will likely not be another High on LeConte update until about Wednesday. Until then, the forecast for the next few days sounds like typical summer fare--warm with a chance of showers every day. Come see us, but make sure you pack your raingear and plenty of water (you can refill your water bottles for free at the blue-handled spigot outside the office).