It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 30 degrees. The overnight low was 7 degrees, recorded shortly after yesterday's observation. It was 29 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new snow or precipitation and there is approximately 3 inches of snow remaining. I would still recommend Microspikes if you intend to reach the summit, as there is slick black ice below the snow in various spots. Get out and enjoy the beautiful day!
Grace and I had a superb day yesterday sledding and meandering in the new snow. It's always one of the landmark days of a winter spent up here - fresh snow and a closed Hwy 441. In general, it is rare that we see the majority of day hikers, but there is an indelible inkling of other folks all around the mountain when the road is open. In just the same way that 'wilderness' is an indescribable feeling, the closed road days produce a sense of quietude and dignity. The tallest mountain on the east coast becomes our own personal playground.
We hiked out slowly to a blustery sunset at Cliff Tops. That little half mile hike from the lodge to Cliff Tops becomes a joyous tour of the people's Christmas tree farm, with our familiar spruces transformed in coats of snowfall. I felt especially grateful to be in a National Park yesterday, a treeful and peopleless sanctuary when so much of our world is in peril. After we escaped the harsh winds, the last tints of orange and purple stuck around for a bit and guided us home reminding us of the peace of wild things.