It's another beautiful, clear day up top. The high yesterday reached 28 degrees. The low was 14 degrees, recorded yesterday morning. It was 27 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation and there is a light dusting of snow on some trails. The trails are in pretty good shape, with a bit of slick ice in a few spots. I would not consider traction devices necessary just yet. Get out and enjoy this beautiful Friday!
My friend Katie and I went out for one of my favorite hikes yesterday. We took off at 9:30 and headed out the Boulevard trail, enjoying big views in all directions (so, so good after days of rain & clouds!) of our beloved undulating Smokies. We stirred little flocks of birds from the trees overhead, watched rime ice crumble as it warmed in the sun, and enjoyed the undisturbed single track of the Boulevard. Once we reached the AT, we headed towards Charlie's Bunion to take in the requisite view of my winter home. From there, we headed south on the AT towards Newfound Gap, passing friendly day hikers (everyone says hi in the South!) and hitched down to her car at Alum Cave. From there, we drove to Chimney Tops to get in some scrambling, marvel at last years' Trails Forever work, and take in another view of LeConte. We hiked down Chimney's, then drove back up to Alum and enjoyed the golden glow of another perfect evening on Alum. We topped out just as the sun was setting. The beauty is in the brevity. There is no sorrow that can catch up to you on a 20 mile day in your happy place.