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.
It's a beautiful, snowy day up top. The high yesterday reached 20 degrees. The overnight low was 6 degrees. It was 7 degrees and foggy at 7am observation. The mountain received 5 inches of new snow! There is 5 inches of total snow on the ground with deeper drifts in places. I would 100% recommend Microspikes, gaiters and warm waterproof footwear if you intend to hike today. There are slick sections along the trail and the snow is still very powdery. Get out and enjoy the winter wonderland!
Grace and I had a perfect hike back up to the lodge yesterday. We hit the trail around ten, knowing that snow was coming in from Nashville and we had to make our way to the trailhead before the road closed. We ran into our backcountry ranger friend Nick at the trailhead and saw him later on near the Cave Bluffs - great chatting with you pal! The hike was both exhausting and exhilarating. Any slight uphill forced me to slow down and enjoy the increasing snow. It got more intense with each section we hiked. The cloud ceiling must have been rather high because we were still getting nice views of the Chimney's and were able to see Cliff Tops from Gracie's Pulpit. We put on our Microspikes (for the first time all season!) after the Cave Bluffs and saw only 4 other folks for the remainder of our hike. It was really special to hike up in our first serious snowfall of the season and truly take our time. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the snow while it lasts!
It's a crisp, cloudy day up top. The high yesterday reached 49 (!!!) degrees. The overnight low was 25 degrees. It was 25 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received .64 inches of rain last night and no snow. There is no snow up top. The trails may be a little slick, but Microspikes are not necessary. Get out and enjoy the day!
I am headed to Alabama for the Mountain Mist 50k this weekend. The blog will return on Monday! Enjoy the Smokies for me!
ps: a hearty thank you to the kind soul that left some Bolthouse smoothies for me up top yesterday! They are much appreciated!
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 37 degrees. The overnight low was 27 degrees, recorded shortly after observation yesterday morning. It was 37 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is no snow on the ground up top. There was a dangerous glaze ice on nearly every surface yesterday, but the warm temperatures overnight seem to have it thawed out. I would still recommend carrying spikes up if you intend to reach the summit or Cliff Tops, there are a few sketchy sections of black ice up top. Get out and enjoy the day!
Grace and I were able to enjoy our first proper sunset in quite a while yesterday evening. We didn't see anyone on the mountain all day and it cleared nice and early. The sunshine was a welcome sight after what felt like a lifetime in the clouds. We moseyed over to sunset and curled up behind some windbreaks to enjoy the show. The rime ice on the trees was a real sight as well, the first serious bits I've seen since the Whites this fall. It wasn't the most dramatic sunset with hardly a cloud in the sky, but deprivation does something sweet to your brain and makes everything seem wonderful. I missed the sherbert colours so vivid you could taste them.
It's a beautiful, cold morning up top. The high yesterday reached 35 degrees. The overnight low was 26 degrees. It was 27 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received 1.17 inches of liquid precipitation yesterday and there is no snow up top. There is plenty of glaze ice, so be prepared for slick conditions if you intend to reach the summit. The trails are sure to be treacherous, be sure to turn around if you feel uncomfortable. Going down slick trails is a heck of a lot harder than coming up them.
This little spell of 'dying weather' has been a joy up top. It's always comforting to return to a warm cabin after conditions like we've had the past two days. It was raining hard for most of yesterday - a cold rain that pushes through the best jackets and begs you to go hypothermic. It was a full on ordeal just to go for a brief walk around camp - lots of layers, a thick buff, hat and gloves. It was still alarmingly miserable. On the plus side, we didn't see anybody trying to brave the conditions. The glaze ice around camp is sketchy right now, but this front is supposed to pass sometime this afternoon. Around then, we'll take a break from all this inside time and revel in the newfound sunshine. The joys of mountain weather are its' variety - and while I wish we had snow, these terrible weather days only make you more appreciative once the sun finally returns.
It's a cold, wet morning up top. The high yesterday reached 42 degrees. The overnight low was 32 degrees. It was 32 degrees and raining lightly at 7am observation. The mountain received 2.07 inches of rain last night. There is no snow up top. The trails are sure to be excessively soggy today. Be prepared for hypothermic conditions if you intend to reach the summit!
It is an absolutely perfect day for curling up with a good book. I spent the weekend going down and up Alum on Saturday and Sunday, so I'm due for a little rest. The weather couldn't be drearier - just cold enough to be miserable, but not quite cold enough for what would have been an epic snowstorm last night. The rain started after I came back up Alum around 4 and got heavier as the night progressed. It was coming down in sheets, fast enough to turn the little goat paths around camp into full on water drainages. The winds came and went, but a heavy fog with low visibility settled in. It was difficult to get around even with my headlamp on the highest setting. It would have been an incredible snowstorm, but I am just happy to be in warm pajamas watching the calm rain continue this morning.
I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!) My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods, No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, I have no chair, no church, no philosophy, I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange, But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, My left hand hooking you round the waist, My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. Walt Whitman
It's another beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 43 degrees. The overnight low was 32 degrees. It was 34 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The trails are in fantastic shape, get out and enjoy this beautiful day!
It's a beautiful, misty morning up top. The high yesterday reached 49 degrees. The overnight low was 41 degrees. It was 41 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .76 inches of rain yesterday, most of it coming overnight. The trails are sure to be excessively soggy today, so be prepared for wet feet. I'll see y'all on the trails!
It's a beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 43 degrees. The overnight low was 32 degrees. It was 41 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and the trails are in fantastic shape. There is no ice and they are not particularly wet. Get out and enjoy these beautiful conditions!
I had a great run out the Boulevard trail yesterday. I really enjoyed the first views I've had in quite a few days. It's been rather gloomy up here lately and I was starting to get hints of the socked in blues. I had the Boulevard to myself and was surprised to only see a few folks on the AT near Newfound Gap. The solitude was an unexpected treat. It was so warm out yesterday that I took a dip in Styx Branch on the way up! The cold water is always a joy, providing a shock to the muscles and a jump start for your brain. Although you wouldn't think of Alum as a quiet trail, it somehow feels like I have it to myself when everyone is hiking down and I am on my way up. I only saw a few folks above Alum Cave and started to run out of gas, but was so full of enthusiasm that I could hardly feel how exhausted I was. It was pure elation coming up on what felt like a warm spring afternoon.
I have never learned how. And never will learn how. What I have learned is to get outside the world. To need less. To reduce my wants. To be satisfied with essentials. I have learned that possessions get in my way. That money and what it can buy are distractions. I have learned that simplicity starts when income exceeds outgo. George Sheehan
It's a beautiful, chilly morning up top. The high yesterday reached 46 degrees. The overnight low was 32 degrees. It was 33 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received .47" of rain yesterday, most of it coming late last evening. The trails are sure to be a bit soggy, but get out and enjoy the views!
I had another great day of relaxation hanging around the cabin yesterday. Reading, daydreaming, foam rolling. The rain came and went. It was another timeless day up top.
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