Greetings from the high country,
Clear skies are a thing of the past up top, we are socked in! It is currently 38 degrees up here. Extremely high winds hit the mountain yesterday afternoon! Some gusts were upwards of 60 mph! The wind proceeded to howl through the night, and it has slowed down drastically this morning. It is indeed a sad day for all you snow lovers out there. With temps slowly rising and a light drizzle, solid blankets of white have turned to slush. We received trace amounts of rain (0.2 inches) this morning, and we are now looking at around 3" of snow around camp. I hate to see it go, but it will come back around in the near future. Those planning on making the climb to the summit, or even hiking to one of our many landmarks along the way, bring some dry socks! Slush-covered trail makes for some wet feet! There may be some small pockets of ice towards the tip-top, but ice traction shouldn't be necessary. Also, be on the lookout for downed trees and other debris on the trail! I've worked/lived on the mountain for close to 2 years, and I've never seen winds this strong.
Yesterday's high was 37 degrees, with a low temp of 27. Temperatures are predicted to rise throughout the week, and rain is on the radar for tomorrow. I kept myself busy by making fresh prints in the snow along the Boulevard, staring at icicles and throwing snowballs at trees. With cyclone-like winds rushing through the trees, I thought it would be a genius idea to go to the cliffs for sunset. Upon arrival, I knew I was in trouble. I made my way to the exposed rock, and the hat blew off of my head! Winds ripped from the valley floor, and up and over the hill. The force of nature has no remorse, attempting to blow me onto the streets of Gatlinburg. I couldn't risk getting my new camera out, so I whipped my phone out and got some great videos! Those who make it to the top, use extreme caution when exploring our many overlooks! With no protection from the tress, the winds can pick up an additional 15-20 mph! Hold on to your hats, folks!
"To most humans, wind is an irritation. To most trees, wind is a song..."