One of the most common questions I get is, "What do you do up there?" So on a cold, nasty and rainy day I thought I would have plenty time to address this question and share a "Day In The Life" of the Winter Caretaker.
My day usually starts at 6:30 am. I go up to the kitchen and have my coffee (yes it's normally Blue Smoke). I report the weather to the Park Service every morning at about 7 am. The National Park Service compiles information from all of their weather reports from around the park and turns this information in to the National Weather Service.
Weather Log And Radio Used To Call In The Daily Weather Report
I keep an eye on the grounds and usually go out and look things over a few times a day. I look out for damage from people or weather. I've had to repair a few things that were damaged by the weather this winter. I have very little trouble from people. Folks seem to know that there's someone up here keeping an eye on things.
When the weather is bad like it is today I keep an eye out for hikers that are coming through for the day or hiking in to stay in the back country shelter. When the temperatures are extremely cold it can be really hard on the best hikers. Most hikers are well prepared and in good shape. But every now and then I come across someone that needs to come in and warm up and dry out for a bit.
I am also available to the National Park Service to assist with any rescues or searches on Mt. LeConte. I have helped with two searches this winter. Both times the hikers were recovered in good health. Hopefully I won't get that call again this winter.
Cooking On Mt. LeConte, 2-5-10
I cook all my meals and really love it. Everyday chores that we take for granted in town take a lot more effort on LeConte. Electricity is very limited here. So no microwave popcorn! I purchased and sent up all my own food supplies and had them sent up in November. Cooking all my own meals is time consuming but extremely rewarding. Everything takes a little more time on LeConte. If I want hot water I have to boil it on the stove. I wash my laundry by hand with a scrub board and hand cranked wringer. I walk through a foot of snow to the outhouse (up hill both ways).
Speaking of water! In the winter I have to carry water from the spring. The spring is about 100 yards down the hill. I carry two 6 gallon jugs. I have to keep my water stored in the kitchen to keep it from freezing. Keeping water stocked is really great exercise!
After I do all my chores I still have plenty time for myself. I love reading. I'm a big Cormack McCarthy fan. Right now I am reading "Easy Go" by David Witherspoon. I also have time to listen to my beloved Lady Vols Basketball team on the radio. Go Vols! And of course I have time to enjoy my photography and share it with you here on LifeOnLeConte.