Good morning to all of you. Happy Election Day to you. If we can find a way to vote living up here on LeConte, then you can, too. As we don't have a precinct located at the lodge (surprise, surprise), some of us early voted, others will vote in person and some had absentee ballots delivered up the mountain by llama. Not a lot of electioneering llamas living in America in 2012 (or any other time for that matter), but our boys are just that good.
As indicated in the photo above, snow has been our most regular guest at the lodge the last nine days or so. New snow began falling overnight and is still coming down as of 8:22 a.m. Currently, we've received about two inches of new snow to give us a total of 13 inches on the ground (accounting for some melting on Monday).
The forecast calls for about a 20 percent chance of precipitation today giving way to mostly cloudy skies. On top of LeConte, the probability of snow increases tonight through midday Wednesday--about an 80 percent chance. We could get enough additional accumulation to affect trails and roads, but we're not expecting another three feet of new snow (as a man who carries dozens of eggs on snow and ice, I hope we are done with that). As of now, nicer conditions waltz in on Thursday and remain through the weekend.
Monday's high reached 40 under sunny skies, but we didn't get as much melting as I'd hoped. The lowest temperature we saw on Tuesday morning was 26, not quite as cold as Monday's 21 degrees. At the conclusion of Tuesday's breakfast, the temperature registered 27.
I'll pass along a few trail updates we received up top throughout the day Monday. Please keep in mind all of these reports reflect conditions before the new snowfall. I still couldn't track down any guests who attempted the Boulevard and Bullhead Trails. Rainbow Falls Trail still seems the best bet, as I heard there's not even much snow below the Rainbow/Bullhead Trail junction--just 0.6 miles from the lodge.
We're fortunate to have our general manager Tim Line, a longtime LeConte veteran, up for a couple of days. Tim took Alum Cave Bluff Trail up Monday morning and found its conditions improved even since Sunday night.
I received a detailed trail report from a dayhiker who fared well on Trillium Gap Trail Monday. He said that there are about five trees down on the trail, which shouldn't slow down hikers too much (llamas are a different matter, unfortunately). Like all the trails, Trillium is quite wet, carrying a great deal of snowmelt away from LeConte's summit. However, there's little snow below Trillium's junction with the Brushy Mountain Trail. The snow is patchy above that point until it transitions to packed snow about one mile below the lodge. You should be fine if you stay on the packed snow, but the drifts will swallow your lower leg if you stray too far.
Please be well prepared if you come up to see us in the next couple of days. We're expecting some continued overnight refreezing, which is slicker than just snow or slush.
Thanks to everyone for their help with accurate trail reports. You are helping keep our guests safe, and all of us at LeConte Lodge appreciate that.
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