Gearing up for a snowy weekend
What a beautiful afternoon I am writing from! It is cold and clear as a bell up on top today and this is Ruthie again. A very important road closing announcement today:
ROAD CLOSURE ADVISORY
Due to the Park Service replacing bridges, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (access road to Grotto Falls/Trillium Gap trail heads) will be closed from the evening of Friday, October 31, 2014 through mid-May 2015. To check on other road closures in the Park, please check NPS website at: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/seasonalroads.htm .
And now for the weather! As i mentioned before it is all blue skies and frosty temperatures today. Our high yesterday was only 45 and the low reached 26 making for a chilly night. Please be aware that there is snow in the forecast for this weekend, starting on Friday night, and accumulation is predicted. This of course means please please please pack very warmly, have traction for your feet, keep waterproof gear with you at all times and just because it isn't warm anymore, don't forget to stay just as hydrated while hiking! The mountain is beautiful in the snow, but it can also be treacherous so don't let the winter wonderland go to your head and continue to practice safe hiking!
I hope to see lots of smiling faces (with warm hats on, of course) this weekend and please don't forget about the access to Trillium Gap Trail being closed! Have a lovely rest of your afternoon and stay warm!
10/30/2014 09:21:12 am
Ruthie my niece Caliana truely enjoyed our visit with you and the rest of the gang at the lodge a week or so.
10/30/2014 09:27:32 am
NOAA is also saying wind gusts of over 30 mph so batten down the hatches! Hope no one gets stuck in snow drifts.
10/30/2014 10:23:39 am
Thank you Ruthie, Chris, Allyson, Nathan and the whole staff! We just got back home from our trip up last night. What a beautiful day it was. Started out rainy, but cleared in time for sunset and sunrise this AM was fantastic! I was REALLY impressed by the lodge and the staff! You ALL went above and beyond for us (party of seven) and it was a magical stay. I brought my autistic daughter and she did amazingly well....with help from your friendly staff! kudos! (we got to see the Llama train come down trillium, an air lift, and an AMAZING show of color on the bottom 2 miles of Bullhead trail. Everyone should go there...it was awe inspiring!!) THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart....had a wonderful experience!
10/30/2014 10:34:18 am
Great post! Especially the part about hats! Seriously, though, arming folks with information is the best way for everyone to have a great mountaintop experience.
10/30/2014 11:05:24 am
See you guys at the top on Saturday. Trip 13 for me should be pretty memorable.
10/30/2014 11:09:34 am
Hope you stay warm and safe....wondering...how will the llamas come up while the road is closed?
10/30/2014 12:15:02 pm
We are climbing up on Friday, Alum Creek trail, hope to make it up by 4:00 pm...wonder what will happen on Saturday? 2of us 70 yr. Olds.
10/30/2014 01:31:00 pm
We are going up Alum Cave trail also Friday. It's coming back Saturday I'm worried about, and we are a bit younger!
10/30/2014 03:08:33 pm
Been a long wait!! Working on the bridge project this winter and an early snow is just the ticket to get us acclimated.
10/30/2014 03:31:57 pm
When you say "traction for your feet" can you give some suggestions. I have normal L.L. Bean boots with the vibram sole.
10/31/2014 12:12:37 am
I'm a huge fan of micro spikes! Crampons and YakTracks are also popular choices.
10/31/2014 05:49:34 am
thanks. we're not actually coming up until wednesday but if there is not a major thaw after tonight and tomorrow by wednesday i will stop at REI and get some. or somewhere else. coming down is what would bother me the most-Alum Cave trail is kind of slick toward the top to begin with with all those rocks.
10/30/2014 10:48:37 pm
We only have short boots, no gaiters or cleats. Getting up would not be a problem, but think it would be unwise if more than 1-2 inches of snow falls. We are deciding not to come. Hard decision.
10/31/2014 01:02:52 am
You can purchase the slip on devices in Gatlinburg at the outdoor store on the left just before you enter the park.
Brian N bama
10/31/2014 02:50:46 am
You have to go....if you don't have gaiters or traction....NOC store on the way out of the park can fix you up or
10/31/2014 08:21:56 am
Hiked down Alum Cave in 6" snow a few years ago. AMAZING!
10/31/2014 04:38:15 am
Mel, hoping yall were able to procees with the climb up this AM. Saw the FB post. Too funny! Jay
10/31/2014 03:01:23 am
I love fall snows, makes the colored leaves look sugar coated! (leaves are gone above 3000-ish) Town elevation is peaking in color today!
10/31/2014 04:48:16 am
Love the website
I wasn't going to post any comments until today's (Friday) post was made, but I just had to write a brief comment. That is regarding the possible snow accumulation in the Smokies tonight, and particularly on Mt. Leconte ! Up to 12" is what I've seen on the tv, and although weather forecasts aren't always accurate, I have an inner feeling that there will be some snow by tomorrow morning. I am greiving ! I feel that this is a perfect time for me to be up on the mountain ! I also think there'll be a cancellation or two for tonight and despite it being only eight weeks since my knee surgery I honestly feel that I could make the trek up. Maybe I'm letting my heart dictate my reasoning, but truly I feel that the sheer excitement of hiking and going to the lodge with that snow forecast would sustain my footsteps ! Well, I wish that I had made better plans and attempted it. But, nonetheless, come 6:00p this evening I will be thinking about everyone who did make it up and hope that they did so safely. Tonight's possibilities with the weather are not for the inexperienced nor unprepared. I pray that all are safe who make the hike. Enjoy my friends for it could well be a truly magical time on the mountain this weekend !!!
10/31/2014 05:28:47 am
This storm is going to be extremely dangerous. Temperatures are already crashing @ West of the mountains, and I would assume a changeover to snow late afternoon. Snow tonight is going to be heavy at times, as the ULL moves over. Saturday upslope snowfall takes over and all NW facing slops are going to be in poor visibility at least thru Saturday afternoon. I am still thinking of leaving tonight, or early AM tomorrow to get out to the trailheads. There is no way anyone is getting to Alum Cave trail, and I am even worried that Rainbow Falls and Bullhead ( Cherokee Orchard Road) will be burried pretty good too. Be safe out there, Saturday may be a bad day to come OFF the mountain as I do not know if you could even get out of the park.
Your comments are very wise and I'm glad that you posted them. I never intend to gloss over reality with my enthusiasm for hiking and being out in more severe weather conditions, nor do I ever mean to ignore safety issues that others need to follow. I let my enthusiasm get in the way sometimes when I mean to simply share advice and good sense with others. Yes, it could get really nasty on the mountain and in the Park this weekend and above all I hope that those that attempt the mountain will exercise caution and common sense in their preparations and treks for the sake of their safety, etc. Good luck to those folks.
10/31/2014 07:42:50 am
If access to Trillium is closed for the winter, how will the llamas get up?
11/1/2014 12:40:30 am
What is the policy if there is a cancelation? We are not hiking until Monday, but if 441 closed and there is still a substantial amount of ice and snow on Rainbow Falls, we do not feel that it is a wise decision to attempt the hike since three of our group are seniors.
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