It's yet another gorgeous, clear day up top. The high yesterday reached 46 degrees. The low was 28 degrees. It was 34 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received heavy sunshine all day, which led to about 3 inches of melt. The current snowfall up top is hovering around 2 inches. I am sure the trails are still in pretty rough shape with the thaw and refreezing cycle. Please be sure to pack Microspikes or some sort of traction devices. Enjoy the day!
It is another beautiful morning up top. There was a fiesta of colours as I awoke to report the weather this morning - pinks and purples were gently shading the horizon line as I walked to the kitchen, some of Nature's fine watercolour strokes. The air is crisp and I expect to see lots of folks up top burning off yesterday's indulgences!
_The high yesterday reached 34 degrees. The low was 16 degrees. It was 28 degrees and clear at 7am observation. We had abundant sunshine yesterday afternoon and an inch of melt, bringing our snowfall total down to 5 inches up top. I would imagine that the trails are still in pretty rough shape, as there were hardly any visitors up top yesterday with 441 closed until mid-afternoon. It sounds like 441 will be open today and the Park's road crews are currently working on Cherokee Orchard Road as I post this. Rainbow Falls trail is open again - reports of a bridge being out were unfounded. Keep in mind that the sun is setting around 5:21, so if you aren't up top by 3pm, I would advise turning around unless you like stumbling around in the woods after dark.
_I had a lovely hike out to watch the sun set yesterday evening at Cliff Tops. In past seasons, I've returned like an eager puppy, in a rush to drop my bags and see High Point, Myrtle, and all my favorite secret spots on the mountain. That kind of enthusiasm is fun, but it's been rewarding to slowly let the mountain reacquaint herself with me again. There is a new gift awaiting me every day. Heading out to Cliff Tops through one of my favorite sections of pines with the low slanted evening light was phenomenal. The sky was glowing golden and the snow reflected it in a subtly different shading, the contrast was sublime. It felt like a very clear sign that I'd made the right decision to come back for another winter. I have not yet had my fill.
First off, Happy Thanksgiving! I could go on and on about how much that I have to be grateful for this year, but the present reality of fresh snow atop my winter abode is at the top of my list. I am soaking in this beauty. It felt a bit like a fairy tale waking up this morning. It has been a quick turnaround for me, I hardly feel like I've had a chance to breathe with my arrival up top coinciding with end of the season madness. There is still a lot for me left to do to settle into my winter home, but the familiar view of High Point with the sun gently glowing up the dawnsky was so uplifting. It sent the message clear through my skull - it is really happening.
_The high yesterday only reached 16 degrees. It was 16 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The low yesterday was 4 degrees. The mountain received 4.5 inches of new snow, bringing our total up to 6 inches. There are slightly deeper drifts up top and some buried ice below the fresh stuff. I came up Alum yesterday evening and could definitely feel my energy sapping with the drifts causing my feet to drag like chains. Please use caution if you intend to hike in the Park today.
There's all kinds of news on trail conditions. Rainbow Falls trail is currently CLOSED. It appears that a bridge washed out further below. They'll be sending in a crew as soon as possible to assess the damage. As of this posting, 441 is still closed. I hear them chattering on the radios, working hard to make sure all the roads are safe before they open up. Check the Park Service website or twitter feed for updates on road conditions.
Much thanks to Tim, Chris, Allyson & the rest of the crew. They were welcoming as could be and I really look forward to seeing them this winter. Be safe out there, everyone!
Warm greetings from your cold winter caretaker! It's about 13 degrees out right now. The overnight high was 39 degrees and the low was 13 degrees. The lodge received 3.45 (!!!) inches of rain yesterday and 1.5 inches of snow. Imagine what havoc that much snow would've wreaked, if only it were a bit colder!
Fortunately for the crew, they will have a much more manageable hike off the mountain this morning. The snow is fresh and provides decent traction, but I am sure there are icy spots lurking beneath. I would definitely recommend some sort of traction devices, preferrably Microspikes.
_The gentle white of the new snow is giving off a fine, ambient glow in the dining room. I am writing this entry while watching the crew make all the preparations to close up for the winter: cleaning up from breakfast, folding blankets, wiping down floors, collecting kerosene lamps, moving rocking chairs... It's all over. As of this posting, 441 is still closed. The water rushing down Rainbow yesterday afternoon was serious enough to turn away a few overnight guests, so please be careful.
As you may have heard, the Lodge is CLOSED for the winter. There are no day hiker services available. No coffee, no hot chocolate, no warming up next to the fire, no overnight stays... just about all you can do is admire the beauty the winter months brings and relish in the joys of your self-sufficiency.
Much thanks to my friend Barbara Allen for giving me a ride to the trailhead yesterday. I am thrilled to start this winter season with a bit of snow! I am hopeful that this is a good omen for a brutal winter season.
You could see hundreds of miles yesterday morning. The clarity was amazing. I know it is hard to tell from this photograph, but the sun was shining down on the towns in the distance and you could see the Cumberland Plateau. That is a rare sight these days.
On to the information I know you are all waiting to hear about. It started snowing last night around 8:30. We had about 2" on the ground when the snow turned to rain. All I can say is thank goodness. It has been raining all night. If it had kept on snowing we would have seen about 8" on the ground this morning. It is currently raining this morning and the temperature is 37º. The high yesterday was 38º with a low of 27º.
The weather forecast is calling for snow later today and throughout tomorrow. We are predicting that we will see 5"-8" possibly more. With this rain, we will have a nice layer of ice underneath the fresh snow. I suggest ,if you are hiking up, to make sure you have some form of ice traction for you boots. Remember to wear plenty of layers. Drink plenty of water and let someone know what trail you are on. Give yourself plenty of time to make it to the top. Start your hike early.
JP should be making his way up the mountain today. I will hand the reins over to him. He will start his posts in the morning.I know you are all looking forward to his musings. I am sure he will not disappoint. I hope you all have a wonderful winter and I look forward to sharing stories with you come next March.
It was a slow afternoon around the mountain. Thank goodness, because we were all in a tryptophan daze. The weather was cold but nice. The high was 27º and the low was 3º. It got warmer as the night went on. This morning it is currently 30º. The buzz around the mountain is "how much snow are we going to be hiking down in?" There is a big storm heading our way and it sounds as though we might get one last blizzard before we put our favorite lodge to bed for the winter. You may get some good snow pictures after all.
It is a great morning to be in the warm kitchen putting the final touches on the Mountain Thanksgiving feast. It was 4º when I awoke at 4:30 to the put the turkey in the oven. It is currently 3º. The high yesterday was 34º. Needless to say, it is cold at the top. It is days like this that I am so grateful my commute to work is from one room to another in the same building. There is frost on the trees but no snow on the ground. The trails will be icy, so please take your time coming up today. We will have some hot chocolate waiting for you when you reach the top. Happy Hiking.
No snow as of yet, but it could happen today. It is currently raining and the temperature is 35º. Our low last night was 34º with a high of 47º. If the rain continues and it gets colder through out the day, we should see some of the fluffy white stuff. Today is a busy day for me. I have started my cooking extravaganza for the crew's annual Thanksgiving on the Mountain. The crew looks forward to this all year. We enjoy our "mountain family" Thanksgiving on the Sunday before we head off the mountain. I am ready for some turkey and pumpkin pie.
Good morning. Allyson is having trouble posting today, so she asked that the office post. She will try to post when she can. The high yesterday was 44 and low 38. It is still socked in and windy. No ice is reported on the trails. Rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow morning with temps dropping throughout the day on Saturday. If you are coming up tomorrow or Sunday be prepared for what should be a cold and windy stay with ice possible on the trails by Sunday morning. Sunday should be sunny, but blustery and cold. Unless the lodge gets an inversion, highs will only be in the teens or 20's. Hopefully, Allyson will be able to post some pictures tomorrow morning, maybe some snow pictures.
I just want to take a minute to say thank you for all of the wonderful ideas that were posted on the blog yesterday. I will take these ideas to the powers that be. This will give us some homework for the winter.
This morning is starting off on a blustery note. I was wondering if I was going to wake up in Oz. The temperatures have warmed up. The high yesterday was 47º with a low of around 38º. Someone asked about the snow forecast for the weekend. I will explain how we predict our weather, if that is even possible. When I see rain in the forecast and the temperatures for the lower elevations are in the 40s, I can usually estimate we will be 15 to 20 degrees colder. That would usually make it cold enough for our precipitation to turn to snow. That is not always the case. Sometimes we are in an inversion and we are actually warmer then the valley. This being the reason I always suggest to come prepared for anything. The weather for the weekend is calling for rain and lower temperatures. If I was a bettin' girl, I would say we will see some snow.
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