Top of the morning from the top,
I am currently sitting in the kitchen, enjoying some black tea and oats to start my day off on the right note! The sun is just beginning to rise, only to be engulfed by a large dark cloud that resides above us. The blueish hues from the sky and the valley beneath us have meshed into one blue, making it difficult to tell where the cut-off is. Large black crows have taken over the lodge, traveling in intimidating cliques. Loud chatter fills the air as I type, I'm unsure what exactly they're talking about. Observing them for a brief moment, I saw one pecking at its reflection in a window! I tried to persuade him to stop, but nothing seems to work...
At the moment, it is 29 degrees with clouds over head and light winds coming and going. Judging by the forecast, snow showers have moved into tonight, and should last until late tomorrow evening. A good couple inches have been predicted, so keep your fingers crossed! Maybe we'll get some snow up top this time... In addition, a high wind warning has been issued for the Eastern Tennessee area, primarily the high country. Winds should pick up late tonight and continue through the afternoon, with gusts reaching 70 mph! As of right now, all roads leading to the base of LeConte are open, so all trails are accessible. After hitting the trail yet again yesterday afternoon in search of my spikes (someone took them...), I can tell you first hand that the trails are COATED in thick slabs of ice. The last mile of Alum Cave is extremely difficult to navigate, but it can be done! Slow and steady wins the race in this case, so watch your step up top! Use the cables to your advantage, and if all else fails, crawl! Did a lot of crawling yesterday, I even slid on my bottom for a good 30 seconds down one of the longer sections. As you probably know, there are still a couple downed trees on Alum and all the other approach trails, so keep that in mind if you decide to climb today! Safe travels on and off the trail...
Yesterday's high was a cozy 39, with a not-so-low of 27. I am really enjoying these warmer temperatures! I realize 27 is not warm by any means, but compared to 2 or 3 degrees?! I'll take 27 any day! Conditions were perfect for hiking, mostly clear skies with no wind, mild temperatures. The only negative would be the unforgiving ice blankets along the exposed rocks. I met quite a few folks on the trail yesterday, and they were all in high spirits! Ice was a huge obstacle, but that didn't stop them from making it to the very top! About a mile or so down the trail, I noticed that the snow was virtually all gone, with trace amounts left in the nooks and crannies. Icicles dominated the path, with large chunks of ice hanging from cables, cliffs, and nearby rock walls. If you see an impressive wall of ice, please do not destroy it. Leave it for more people to see, icicles are a work of art that takes time and the perfect environment. Take some time to look off the trail at your surroundings. A lot of magic is hidden in the forested hills that we call the Smoky Mountains, and people walk by countless works of art without even noticing! Whether it be a large, untouched tree, a swelled creek, or a sublime vista, a lot of things can get overlooked on the trail. Stop and smell the roses! Give yourself plenty of time to get up and down the mountain, that way you can stop and enjoy the little (or the big) things along the way! I've seen numerous groups of people rush up this mountain, only to go right back down upon reaching the top. Come prepared and bring a smile or two! I'll be on the trail again today, so maybe we'll run into each other...
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!