High temperature 16, low of 10. As of 7 am, we had 3 inches of snow on the ground. If you veture onto the trails, be careful and expect some icy spots. Remember the lodge is closed and there are no day hiker services.
February 24th, 2016
It's a very windy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 42 degrees. The overnight low was 35 degrees. It was 35 degrees and raining lightly at 7am observation. The mountain received 2.56 inches of rain yesterday and there is no snow up top. There is very little ice remaining on the trails, but they are sure to be very soggy today. The winds are ferocious, so be sure to look out for widowmakers if you're out hiking today. Get out and enjoy this wild day!
I am headed to Vermont today. I will be back March 1st. The blog will be back on the 2nd. Enjoy the Smokies for me!
February 23rd, 2016
It's another soggy, grey day up top. The high yesterday reached 44 degrees. The overnight low was 35 degrees. It was 36 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .97 inches of rain yesterday and there is no longer any snow remaining up top. There is a little bit of ice on brief sections of trails, but I was able to navigate around it easily in running shoes yesterday. It looks like it'll be a windy day, get out and enjoy it!
I had a great run down Bullhead & Old Sugarlands yesterday. I didn't see another person on the soggy trails. It was pure exhilaration. I love the freedom, the strength and joy that comes with trail running in the Smokies. I feel most alive when I am processing those rocks and roots, determining my foot placement in a split second and breathing hard with effort. We are made to feel such vibrancy in our bodies, to play in the woods and enjoy the lull of the mind that comes with real exercise. A heavy mist lingered at 4,000 feet yesterday and the humidity was emphasizing the soon to be spring smells. I even flew by a patch of daffodils... it is all happening...
February 22nd, 2016
It's another soggy, grey day up top. The high yesterday reached 43 degrees. The overnight low was 39 degrees. It was 39 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received 1.23" of rain yesterday and there is now only patchy snow remaining up top. We have had a lot of melt the past few days and I am sure the water crossings will be swollen. The trails are sure to be very wet, so be sure to have waterproof boots if you want to hike in comfort. It looks like it will be another warm day, get out and enjoy it!
I spent the weekend recovering from a long run, reading and watching the snow melt. As much as I will miss the snow, listening to the rain fall on my porch is a beautiful, singular experience. It was a complete joy to read, look up into the grey abyss, then let my attention wander back to my book. Even though I didn't do anything, it will likely lodge itself into my memory. The long days are the ones that stick out - where time is turned into something else completely. Either on the trail or in my rocking chair, the vastness of those truly immersive days is what I will carry with me when I leave the lodge in 18 days...
February 21st, 2016
It's a beautiful, classic Smokies morning up top. The high yesterday reached 42 degrees and the overnight low was 37 degrees. It was 41 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .63 inches of rain yesterday and there is only about 2 inches of sloppy snow remaining up top. The trails are pretty slushy and have melted down to a slick layer in spots, so be sure to bring traction if you intend to reach the summit. Get out and enjoy this warm Smokies winter day!
February 20th, 2016
It's a beautiful, smoky morning up top. The high yesterday reached 43 degrees. The overnight low was 29 degrees. It was 39 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is only about 4 inches of snow remaining up top. The trails are sure to be sloppy - there is a ton of melt at the moment. Get out and enjoy this quiet Saturday!
PS: Thanks for the ride Marty!
February 19th, 2016
It's another beautiful, snow covered morn up top. The high yesterday reached 34 degrees. The overnight low was 18 degrees. It was 30 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new snow and there is about 7 inches still remaining on the ground. There was a surprising amount of day traffic yesterday and I would expect Alum and Rainbow are packed down. I would still recommend traction devices if you intend to reach the summit - better safe than sorry. It looks as if it's shaping up to be a beautiful day, get out and enjoy it!
I spent yesterday enjoying one of my last few days of solitude on the mountain. I always seem to dial back my ambition for long days on the trails in late February and immerse myself in my books. I love having the freedom of being done with work around 8am, with my only responsibility being to figure out which great works to disappear into for the great vast day. It's unbelievable to me just how fast this season has gone by. I assume it must be due to how mild the winter has been. Aside from one big snow storm in late January, there have been no debilitating snows. Without the claustrophobic feeling of being snowed in, I've been able to fill more days with long runs and hikes than previous winters. I have 3 more weeks up top and I feel like I just got here...
February 18th, 2016
It's a beautiful, snowy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 28 degrees. The overnight low was 13 degrees. It was 17 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new snow or precipitation and our snowfall total is about 8 inches. The trails are in good shape with the fresh powder, but I would still recommend cold weather gear if you intend to reach the summit. It's looking like it's shaping up to be a clear, sunny day! Get out and adventure!
February 17th, 2016
I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling. Kerouac
It's a beautiful, snowy morning up top. The high yesterday reached 29 degrees. The overnight low was 19 degrees. It was 19 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received 4 inches of new snow yesterday, bringing our snowfall total to 9 inches. I would recommend full winter gear if you intend to reach the summit. As of this posting, US 441 is closed. I'd allow between 4-6 hours to get up Rainbow or Bullhead in these conditions. If you intend to reach your car by dark, I'd be sure to leave the summit by 3pm. Get out and enjoy snow before it melts over the coming days!
I went for a short run yesterday evening to get out and feel the storm. The snow was marvelous, allowing for great traction and a sense of renewal on these trails I've done hundreds of times. I was hoping to run into a fox or bobcat on their evening rounds, but they're still too clever for me. The wind was a battering ram at Cliff Tops and the flurries were flying towards me from all directions at the precipice. I wandered back slow, ducking below the snow-laden trees, laughing myself breathless and enchanted.
February 16th, 2016
It's a beautiful morning up top. The high yesterday reached 33 degrees. The overnight low was 21 degrees. It was 22 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received an inch of new snow and there is about 5 inches of snow remaining up top. The trails are in surprisingly good shape, with new snow adding traction. I'd still recommend Microspikes as a precaution, but I had no trouble running around the summit yesterday. Get out and enjoy the day!
I spent most of yesterday inside, reading, doing yoga and attending to my winter quietude. The winds were fierce and proved company enough. I got restless at around 2 and went for a short jaunt to the summit and Cliff Tops. The mountain was in transformation, with heavy winds blowing snow every which way and the clouds of action flying fast overhead. It felt a little apocalyptic, quite a contrast to the clear blue skies and total stillness out my cabin door this morning. I love the mountains' mood swings and often wonder if they mirror my own.
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