The clouds insulated us Monday and kept the temperature range quite narrow--a high of 60 and low of 56. We totaled 0.20 inches of rain.
One of our favorite visitors of the weekend arrived in the person of Henry Neel, longtime assistant manager of LeConte Lodge. Henry's name came up in one of the High of LeConte updates in the comments section a while back, so I'll give you a little update on Henry.
Henry came up to help out with lodge duties during a busy Labor Day weekend. We were a little short on crew help and pride ourselves on being able to offer hospitable service regardless of how many crew members are on off days. We were glad to welcome Henry back to help us meet that goal.
Henry worked 15 seasons at LeConte Lodge, from 1995 until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2010 season. His tenure was interrupted in 2005 by military service in Iraq. His 15 years of lodge service puts him in an elite group of people with that many years on Mt. LeConte. Henry still does some income tax work, but is otherwise enjoying his retirement at his home in Jefferson City, Tenn. Henry told me he particularly enjoyed doing some recent traveling to visit his family. Henry's never been stingy with his stories, and held forth last night in the kitchen with tales from LeConte Lodge past, growing up in Mississippi and serving in Iraq. We appreciate his help and look forward to his return visit to LeConte.
We were also glad to welcome the folks who scaled LeConte for the Ed Wright Memorial Hike on Saturday. Ed passed away in 2009 after hiking LeConte more than 1,300 times. Stop and read that number again--more than 1,300 times. A group of Ed's family and friends celebrated what would have been his 87th birthday on Sept. 1 on his favorite mountain. He passed away before I joined the crew, but I've heard some good Ed Wright stories from others and enjoy his accounts of his hikes to LeConte.
We were also fortunate to welcome the Sabos back to LeConte. They've been up to visit several times this year and are always a pleasure. They brought up some ribs for the crew, which we devoured with Sunday lunch. Folks have been kind enough to haul up fresh fruits, vegetables, cookies and chocolate, but that's the first time to my knowledge the crew has been gifted ribs.
I've said it before, we have the best guests in the Smokies. We enjoyed hosting plenty of guests during the weekend and hope they left the lodge happy and ready to return. Happy trails.