January 05th, 2016
It is a beautiful chilly morning up top! The high yesterday reached 21 degrees and the overnight low was 3 degrees! It is actually starting to feel a bit like winter. It was 20 degrees and clear at 7am observation and some gorgeous purple pink alpenglow was lighting up the northeastern sky. The mountain received a trace of snow, but there is also plenty of black ice on the trails. Be sure to use caution if you intend to hike up more than half way! I night hiked up yesterday and there is plenty to keep you from going your normal speed. I'd definitely recommend Microspikes if you hope to reach the summit.
I had a wonderful, snowy hike down Bullhead yesterday afternoon. I am typically a morning person, but I was meeting a friend in the valley for a night hike up Alum. It allowed me to get a later start than usual and enjoy the late afternoon without the effort of having to go uphill. It was my first snowy outing of the season and it was well worth the wait. Although it was rather chilly, I was able to jog down, dodging sections of black ice and enjoying the relaxed pace that comes with caution. My friend Becca and I started up Alum at around 5:30 and it wasn't headlamp o'clock until we hit Inspiration Point. We caught the last rays of the sunset, then continued on our way. The stars were majestic and we saw the first bobcat tracks of the season (I might have squealed with joy). Nothing compares to the intensity of a cold, cold night hike in the snow. There was steam rolling off our thin baselayers by the time we felt the warm embrace of the lodge. If that day wasn't a fine kind of happiness, I'm not sure what is.
Tammy ( Tx )
1/5/2016 10:48:02 am
I'm jealous, JP, downright jealous! I've always liked night hiking, or "walking" around at night in the woods around here, for there are no beautiful mountains close by. Memories of night hiking at my grandpa's, night hikes with Ranger Mike in Cades Cove. Being out in the woods at night creates an entirely different picture of all that's around you. To me it's kind of magical, as long as I'm with a group and not alone! Haha!
1/5/2016 08:42:12 pm
Tammy that's a nice way to look at the simple outdoors. It's a special place and nighttime in the woods is a special time. I used to do a lot of alone camping/backpacking in the Smokies and nighttime was always a thrill. Amazing what is out there in the woods!
1/5/2016 01:02:26 pm
1/5/2016 02:04:15 pm
My eyes could not adjust to today's photo. I had to turn my computer around so that it didn't look like you would be stepping off into the sky. Sometimes its hard to change perceptions once you've seen it a certain way.
Tammy ( Tx )
1/5/2016 08:55:37 pm
I noticed it this morning but didn't comment about it. Is there a reason why the bottom picture for today is upside down? Kind of makes you dizzy to look at it! : )
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