We’re halfway through August and down to just 99 days to go in the 99th season of the lodge. And what an incredible way to mark the occasion with last night’s atmospheric spectacle. Hikers may need to pack the oars this morning for paddling on what are sure to be very wet trails and heightened drainages and creek crossings after the recent deluge. The mountaintop took a brief 30 minute pounding early Monday afternoon that dropped 1.3” of rain and turned lodge paths into fast flowing torrents and ponds. It was unusual to see and hear the prolonged roar of water around camp even after sunny skies returned.
After supper and another sensational sunset, everyone’s eyes turned north toward the horizon as cumulonimbus clouds developed with rapid intensity. The billowing anvil-topped monsters were made most impressive as their heavenly bodies transitioned from waning oranges to a constant chattering of lightning. One by one as dusk turned to dark night, an entire 180° span of thunderheads from southwest to northeast became a distant frenzy of electricity both high and low. The lodge had the best seat in the Smokies for admiring such a powerful display, but it was only a matter of time before the show made us participants. For several hours the summit received lashing after lashing filled with blinding flashes and booming echoes. The evening’s toad strangler unloaded another 2.5” of precip, and all the water will be surging down the mountain and out through gateway communities this morning, if it hasn’t already. Spotty showers and clouds will persist this morning, eventually clearing by tonight. After all that action, it appears we’ll be basking in bountiful sunshine the rest of the week.
If anyone hiking up today notices freshly fallen trees, please notify us and the NPS immediately so that the obstructions and possible hazards can be addressed promptly. Reminder that Alum Cave Trail will be closed tomorrow for bridge repairs.
Have a great day.