Tim, JP's relief sent down the following pictures from the Lodge today. He said high was 37, low 23 and trails are icy. Use caution hiking.
Rime ice is covering everything on the mountain today. This photo makes a very pretty ice bouquet.
Tim adjusting the solar panel to get the most from the winter sun (when it makes it's appearance again). You can see rime ice on the shrubs around the panels.
what will sustain us through the winter? where did last year's lessons go? walk me out into the rain and snow. i dream a highway back to you.
It's a gorgeous, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 32 degrees. The low was down to 21 degrees. It is currently 30 degrees and clear. The trails are still very icy, so please beware coming up. I would recommend Microspikes if you intend to summit. Enjoy the trails!
I will be rambling for a bit and will be back up on Sunday the 5th. Until then, the blog will be on a little hiatus. See the following links for weather information...
you think it's funny, my obsession with the holy matrimony. but i am just so amazed to witness true love.
It's another gorgeous, slow developing morning on the mountain. It feels like it's been that grim, grey predawn for a few hours. The high yesterday reached 37 degrees. The overnight low hit 21 degrees. It's currrently 22 degrees and clear at 7am observation. There is still a trace of snow left up top. It's been pretty cold, so I doubt that the ice has gotten much better over the past few days. I'm sure there will be some tricky spots on the trails. Be prepared & enjoy!
I hauled out my sleeping bag, pad and a thermos of coffee to a little spot I've dubbed 'Bobcat Junction'. I've seen a lot of spots of scat around there and some tracks back when the mountain had a bit of snow. I was hoping that Santa was delivering my present a little late. I sat there just listening, fending off cold by flexing my fingers and toes rhythmically, breathing quietly, so quietly it strangely feels loud, doing my best to focus on my five senses, honing them to razor sharpness like a hunter. It's amazing how much you can notice when you focus on the world and deliberately stop thinking, dropping outer thoughts like an old life. Sensory overload indeed. I felt every plant sway in the cascading winds, heard the cacaws of each bird saying good night to the mountain, each and every sensation making me jump with a hopeful sighting of one of my winter neighboors - bobcats, foxes or bears.
It's another gorgeous morning on the mountain. The high yesterday reached 33 degrees. The low dropped down to 8 degrees. It was 27 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received a trace of snow yesterday morning and there is still some patchy snow left up top. I've heard that Alum is pretty slick, so please be sure to pack traction devices. Allow yourself plenty of time to hike down, as Yogi Berra said, it is that time of year where it gets late early. It looks like we're in for some clear weather, so the views should be pretty great. Enjoy!
I went out hunting for sunrise this morning. It's been a little while, as I've conceded the duskydawn hours to the native animals and have been respecting their space. However, the temptation of finding a big sunrise over my beloved Smokies with some inversion caps still hanging around was enough to violate my treaty. I left at seven with a Thermos of coffee. I forgot how short the days where, as I got to Apollo Overlook and had a twenty minute skyshow before the sun crested those distant North Carolina mountains. The majority of the valley clouds must have passed out overnight with our rising temperatures, but it was still a fantastic show. There were some distant clouds pinking up on the horizon and the sky grew ever more impressive shades of orange, yellow and purple. It's always the predawn show that is most impressive, the crescendo to sunrise. For some reason, the colours are richer before the sun hits the clouds. As I tramped back, the trail was lit with the slanty golden red of new day sun mingled with treeshadows. Sometimes it's all too much.
It's a gorgeous morning up top. We are clear and above the clouds. The high yesterday reached 36 degrees. The low was 13 degrees. It is currently 13 degrees and clear. The mountain received no new precipitation yesterday. There is no snow left on the ground. I would bet that there is a bit of ice on the trails, but not too much. Most of the water has been steadily draining off the mountain over the past few days. Enjoy, it's bound to be a stunning day for a hike.
Yesterday was worth it. It was worth all the long, weary, comfortless Greyhound bus rides, the endless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when you have a three digit checking account, the near impossibility of finding proper health insurance, wandering about without a sense of community and questionable purpose as your friends start families and act like real, fulfilled grown ups, 'am i living up to my potential?!' - all the typical late twenties existential melodrama... sunsets like that just make every fret, worry and question evaporate. It is totally, utterly redeeming. It is hard to explain to the uninitiated 'why' living like this is worth it. You just had to be there. Trail life for life.
i been coming and going since the day i was born and i followed the bread crumbs but i never got home.
I meant to do my work today, But a brown bird sang in the apple tree, And a butterfly flittered across the field, And all the leaves were calling me. And the wind went sighing over the land, Tossing the grasses to and fro, And a rainbow held out it's shining hand, So what could I do, but laugh and go? Richard Le Gallienne
It's another cloudy day, yet there is promise on the horizon. It almost feels like those everlasting beach days after a hurricane has passed. There is an eerie calm after the tumult of pure storm, the birds are back out of their hiding places and the air has a distinctly refreshing, rather than hostile, quality. The high yesterday reached 44 degrees. The low was 35 degrees. It was 35 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received 2.34 inches of rain yesterday, bringing our two day total to just about 4 inches. It was an impressive show. The trails should still be soggy, so be prepared for wet socks. Enjoy!
The mountain is soaked, raging winds roar. It resembles what I imagine life at sea would be like on the most extreme of days. Darkness settles in, all sorts of mysterious creakings abound, it is necessary to have the kerosene lanterns lit, even during 'day'light. The elements are always in control, but on a day like today they come out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Thankfully, the mountain is immortal and far sturdier than any ship of man's. It's a pleasure to be comfycozy on days like this, curled up with a good book or three, incense, candles, the easygoing disposition that allows me to not hike for a day. All I'm missing is a bobkitten purring at my feet.
It's another dreary day up top. The high yesterday reached a toasty 51 degrees. The low was down to 42 degrees. It was 42 degrees and raining at 7am observation. The mountain received 1.57 inches of precipitation (should've been more than FOOTANDAHALF!!! of snow) and it looks like it will continue for much of the day. The trails are sure to be waterlogged. If you intend to summit, be sure to bring extra layers. Oh, and a headlamp. It's been getting dark around 5:30. If you're not at the summit by 3pm, please turn around. The lodge is closed. There is no substitute for good judgement.
Much thanks to my trail angels from the Tri-cities, as well as my friends Dick & Ann Ketelle! Your gifts are much appreciated!!!
It's a pretty dreary morning up top. The high yesterday reached 44 degrees. The low was a warm 38 degrees. It was 44 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received .04 inches of new precipitation. There is no longer any snow left on the ground up top. The mountain has had a ton of melt, so I'd expect the trails to be wet. There will still be some ice on the worst 'glaciers', but the trails should be in great shape for the most part. Enjoy the day!
It's another gorgeous, relatively clear day up top. The high yesterday reached 46 degrees. The low was a warm 35 degrees. It was 38 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation. There is still some patchy snow left on the ground up top. I went down Rainbow and up Alum yesterday and the ice is getting a little better. I'd bet that with today's warm temperatures there will be almost no need for any sort of traction devices by this weekend. There was still one sheet on Alum that spelled certain discomfort for anyone in sneakers, but other than that both trails are easily passable.
I've spent the better part of the last few days out enjoying the weather, moving moving moving. It felt like a relief to get back up to the lodge yesterday afternoon. I pulled out my favorite sleeping pad and tried to 'cultivate stillness', as my friend Adam would say. I went out to the mountain man cineplex to watch the evening sky show. The clouds were shading a bit, then lightened towards pink as the sun went down. The mountain air entered my lungs in big gulps of crispness and the wind was light. When you're out hiking all day, a little rest feels like a lot. When you do more, you need less. It's a graceful economy. All I needed was that sleeping pad, those clouds and the soft patch of earth beneath my head.
It is yet another beautiful, clear morning up top. The high yesterday hit 39 degrees. The low was reached early in the morning at 13 degrees. It gradually warmed overnight and was 38 degrees at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation, but there is still patchy snow left up top. We may get some decent melt today. The trails are in pretty rough shape. We've had some tricky thaw refreeze cycles and there are some spectacular ice sheets near certain drainages. I would highly recommend Kahtoola Microspikes or some sort of ice traction if you intend to summit.
I had a wonderful hike yesterday and met up with an old friend. We grew close a few years ago and have drifted separate ways since then, twisting and turning in life's gentle course. Seeing her always brings me a transcendent smile above smiling. The kind of maniacal grin that makes your cheeks pain, a distinct giddiness typically follows. There's no way to see her without meditating on the pleasures of memory. We've shared so much together and she's been there for me during my most tumultuous times. As is the nature of life, we've grown apart since our initial bonding experience, but reliving old times on my mental memory wheel just makes me more determined to plan something BIG and renew our bond. Fortunately, we each have miles to go before we sleep...
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