The sun is working its magic on melting the snow away. Patches of green are starting to reappear, but there's still plenty of crunchy white powder covering the mountain. Temperatures rocketed up the thermometer throughout the day, as much as 25 degrees by lunchtime. Despite the warmer temps today, the shady areas around camp and on trail are steadfast in holding on to their slick surfaces, so be sure and have those traction devices on the ready. US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) reopened to traffic around lunchtime today. Guests coming up for our final night will have access to Alum Cave and The Boulevard.
We're also witnessing the culmination of greatness with a loaded graduating class of fine llamas. Clifford, who's been packing as long as Alan has been wrangling, led his team up the mountain for the final time today. He's joined by Flash, already enjoying the spoils of retirement, and eventually Chester, who will saddle up for the last time Wednesday. These three load-luggers have been reliable in their service. They're also considered members of the family when you get to know them through the years, as our wranglers will surely tell you. Way to go, guys! Some of these closing cups of hot chocolate will certainly be raised in your honor.
Have a great start to the week.
We're working our way out of the frigid cold. The skies are clear and the sun is making its ascent. Our low temperature last night eventually bottomed out at 12 degrees, but this morning is already warmer than yesterday ever got as we're currently pushing our way through the mid-20's. We should finally see some some snow melt today, so trail conditions will shift from slick or crunchy to all-out slushy. Continue to use caution as you reach the upper elevations. US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) is still closed this morning, but conditions will certainly turn favorable for the NPS road crews in their efforts to clear it. Guests are once again encouraged to use Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap Trails today for visiting the mountain.