It’s currently 30 degrees - cloudy, windy and raining. Yesterday’s high was 30 degrees, with and overnight low of 12 degrees. We received 1” of new snow.
US Hwy 441/ Newfound Gap Rd from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC is temporarily closed due to snow and ice.
Closure Updates: https://goo.gl/HikrMr
I stumbled through camp. A combination of snow and sleet stung my face - the winds were relentless. Going to the bathroom had turned into, what felt like, an Everest expedition. I cinched my parka closer around my face. The landscape had intensified. Meandering back toward the kitchen, the return expedition would finish with a warm kitchen smothered in the aroma of fresh coffee...
I double checked my gear. I had my small camera, food, water, and a radio tightly stashed in my running vest. With the snow, I was unsure how long it may take to make it. Charlie’s Bunion was the goal. I put on my vest and disappeared down the trail…
My legs felt strong in the snow. I paced myself from the start, knowing the final ascent home would be the real challenge of the afternoon. Letting gravity take hold, I quickly descended the north-east face of Le Conte. Moving fast down the Boulevard, I stayed focused. Looking ahead, the trail suddenly disappeared. Waist high snow drift covered the trail, I was moving too fast. I trusted my knowledge of the trail and plowed straight through the drift. I was less fortunate on the second set. The trail shifted below me, right as I entered the heap. I tumbled though the pile. Laughing like a school child, I continued toward the Appalachian Trail.
My legs hummed beneath me. Glimpses of the Charlie’s Bunion came into view - I was close. Greeted with wild eyed stares, I ran by couples working their way back from the view. I looked naked in comparison, but my engine was burning hot. I dashed along the ridgeline.
Staring down at the rugged depths of Greenbrier wilderness, I noticed that I had the Bunion to myself. Looking up, Mount Kephart’s north face glared menacingly. Ice and snow showed the ruggedness of these Smoky Mountain peaks. I looked toward the north-west - Mount Le Conte called to me in the distance…
I began running - hearing the call.
sleet and snow continued to fall.