It's another gorgeous, clear morning up top. The high yesterday reached 37 degrees. The low got down to a brisk 9 degrees last night. It was 13 degrees and clear at 7am observation. It looks like we'll have another pretty clear day. The trails are in fairly tough shape. After a few thaws and refreezes, there is some tricky ice on Alum. I would definitely recommend Microspikes if you intend to summit today.
Fear limits freedom. I thought about that yesterday as I walked around during the dusklight. It's my favorite time of day, although I use the term 'day' loosely, as it the changing of the guards of day and night. They pass one another with a nod, turning the hours over to the animals. The slanted evening light, the overbearing, oncoming darkness creates a totally unique atmosphere. I feel most distinctly alive during these golden hours. If I wanted to let a socially reinforced fear of darkness conquer me, then I could hide out in my cabin. Thankfully, I've been blessed with a foolish disposition that allows me to wander around during the animal hours. The moon emerges, the snow on the path leads me home when the time comes. Who else is going to keep the stars company? And who is going to keep me company if I don't let myself go spend some time with my star friends?
Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches. Yet it sends our living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth. Man struggles to find life outside himself, unaware that the life he is seeking is within him. Nature reaches out to us with welcoming arms, and bids us enjoy her beauty; but we dread her silence and rush into crowded cities, there to huddle like sheep fleeing from a ferocious wolf. Kahlil Gibran
It's another clear, pretty morning up top. The high yesterday reached 32 degrees. The overnight low dipped to 22 degrees. It was 26 degrees and clear at 7am observation. It looks like it'll be another gorgeous day up here. The temperatures are supposed to creep a bit upwards today, so I would anticipate that the trails will begin to get a little tricky. The snow should be packed down and we'll have some thawing, so I would definitely recommend Microspikes if you intend to summit today.
Yesterday was one of those days where I just let solitude envelope me. I don't really know where the time went, but it went. I saw a few day hikers, but it was as if they were apparitions. I remained alone in my head. It had the essentials of all the best days: easy leisure, mental stimulation, good tired legs, constant beauty, soft winds, clear views, the gentle pattering of wildlife, the entire animated ever living world, reality.
It's another pretty morning up top. The high yesterday reached a brisk 23 degrees. The low was 16 degrees. It was 22 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received the snowfall equivalent of .04 inches of liquid precipitation. There is still about an inch of snow on the ground up top. The trails should be in pretty good shape. The new snow usually has decent traction until it gets packed down, thaws and refreezes. I would still recommend taking along Microspikes in case you run into some slick areas. I would expect 441 to open at some point today, once the Park Service declares it is safe to drive.
I caught a magical hour last evening. I headed out towards sunset around 5pm with my friend Sean. As we approached Cliff Tops, you could see through the barren winter trees this showing was to be filled with promise. The clouds churned slowly down in the valley, moving in a hypnotic motion above the Chimneys. The rest of the cloud cover hung heavy over Knoxville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge forming a gorgeous inversion cap. The sunset's colours were unreal, meant to be seen, not described. The nearly full moon illuminated the snow covered trails on my way back to my cabin, a dim path making my headlamp superfluous. The snow sparkled in the moonlight. It was that kind of night.
It's a beautiful morning up top. The snow is still falling and there is a nice bit of cover all over camp. The high yesterday reached 39 degrees. The low was 18 degrees. It was 18 degrees and lightly snowing at 7am observation. The trails should be in pretty rough shape. With all the water coming off the mountain from yesterday's rainstorm, I would guess there is a fair amount of black ice. The 441 highway is currently closed due to snow and ice, keep an eye on the Park Service's twitter feed for the latest on road conditions throughout the Park. Enjoy the day!
It's another gorgeous morning up top! The sleet is flying sideways, the winds are whipping. It's been a while since we've had some good, chaotic dyin' weather. The mountain received a light dusting of snow and everything has been made anew. The high yesterday reached 39 degrees. The low was 25 degrees. It was 29 degrees and sleeting at 7am observation. The trails should be pretty icy today, so I'd be sure to pack along some Microspikes if you intend to summit. Keep an eye on the Park Service's twitter feed for the latest news on road conditions. Enjoy the day!
It's another gorgeous, cold morning up top. The high up top reached 27 degrees yesterday. The low was 13 degrees. It was 27 degrees and clear at 7am observation. There's only patchy snow left up top, but there's still a good amount of ice on the trails. Be careful if you intend to summit! It looks like we'll have another gorgeous day, with a chance of flurries in the evening. This also means that there is a high chance of a smiling caretaker.
Do you ever get that feeling when you're really immersed and giddy with emotion that you're going to remember it for a good, long time? It's a peculiar kind of self-awareness, bouncing down the trail and feeling the sun warm your rosy cheeks, singing silly tunes, and getting the realization that you won't just be enjoying this motion, these colours, these rocks, this crispy air right now, but also when you're drained, feeling claustrophobic, having a dark night of the soul, you can draw upon the sweet succor of memory and drown in the past. It's a gift to be in the business of making memories.
It's a gorgeous, wintry morning up top. The high yesterday reached 39 degrees. The low dipped down to 13 degrees. It was 13 degrees and clear up top at 7am observation. The snow is now patchy, but there are still going to be slick spots on the trail. I doubt that it will climb above freezing today. It seems like we're in store for some cold weather over the next few days.
I had a fantastic hike out to Alum Gap yesterday along the Boulevard Trail. I started out while the sun was still rising, before it's shades ripened to a pure bright yellow. The gentle brightness softened the needles on the pines, the forest was enchanted as ever. The crepuscular hours have a special kind of magic. The hours still belong to the night creatures, I followed bear and bobcat tracks the whole way. The new snow hinted at their evening escapades, what I'd give to feel their wildness!
It's a gorgeous morning up top. The high yesterday reached 36 degrees. The low was down to 13 degrees. It was 25 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received an inch of new snow. I would expect the trails to be pretty slick. It was chilly enough yesterday afternoon that some treacherous ice was forming on my way to Cliff Tops. I would recommend Microspikes if you intend to reach the summit today. The forecast looks like there will be more clear weather and cold temperatures, so please be prepared.
The mountain received some snow yesterday, around mid-morning. It hit with fury, weather with intention. The storm enveloped the mountain, a whole new character was revealed. The winds picked up, the trees were coated before I finished my cup of coffee. I turned off the radio and went out onto the back porch to feel the storm rage. There is nothing like new snow. Perhaps it is because the snow reminds me that anything can be made new again. This is important.
It feels like it's been a while since I've seen snow, although it's really only been two weeks. Yet another case of calendar time feeling irrelevant up here. The days stretch out with no distractions or society to hide yourself in, just a barren simplicity. Chop wood, carry water.
It's yet another stormy day up top. The high yesterday was 45 degrees. The low got down to 30 degrees. It was 35 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. It sounds like the weather is supposed to clear sometime this afternoon and remain mellow until this weekend. The trails should be a bit wet, but I would still consider them totally passable. There should be no need for Microspikes. If you venture out today, you may be lucky enough to see a mind bending inversion like I did at sunset last night...
The view outside the window had hardly changed over the past 4 days. You do not account for what you have until it is gone. When the sun parted through the trees late yesterday afternoon, my heart skipped a beat. It is as biological a need that we can have, this craving for light. I do not know why it brings such joy to the heart, but it does. I believe it is simpler than I am making it sound, but these particular rays of UV light moved me to remember what I was grateful for. For that gentle reminder, I am thankful.
It's yet another blustery day up top. The high yesterday reached 47 degrees. The low was 43 degrees. It was 45 degrees and raining lightly at 7am observation. The mountain received 1.62" of rain, most of it coming overnight. The weather is supposed to stay the same for most of the day, with some cold temperatures coming this evening. Hopefully, this will turn this cold rain into snow!
The gentle outline of trees out my loft window swayed restlessly as darkness descended last evening, eternal unquietness. They had an entrancing. hypnotic quality to them. I had my cabin sanctuary in the midst of primordial fury. The trees are reslilient, enduring in ways we are not.
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