It's a beautiful, calm morning up top. The high yesterday reached 45 degrees. The overnight low was a balmy 38 degrees. It was 38 degrees and cloudy at 7am observation. The mountain received .3" of rain yesterday. The trails are a little soggy, but there is no ice remaining up top. It's a beautiful day, get out and enjoy it!
Even though I was off the mountain, I couldn't help myself and went for a long run in the Park on Friday. The weather was bizzarely warm for January, but classically Smokies in every other facet. I left Newfound Gap at 10:30 when it was 51 (!!!) degrees and in a dense fog. It never truly rained on me, but I was soaked within a mile or so. My glasses were fogging up constantly, but with this limited visibility there were very few other folks on trail. I saw less than ten people over the course of six and a half hours. Whoever says the AT is too crowded only hikes in July, the sense of serenity was palpable. I hadn't been out on this section of trail in quite some time and there was some impressive new trail work - way to go Pretzel & the rest of the SWEAT crew! Occasionally a viewshed would open up for a bit and I'd get a peek at the seemingly endless hills surrounding me, but the biggest takeaway from my long run was the sense of stillness on these trails. On the busiest trail in the world, in the National Park with more visitors than any other (11.3 million last year!) - I was still surprised every time I saw someone. That stately calm trickles down from the trees and passes through my head via some strange osmosis and it makes everything richer. My shower and meal in town may as well have been the best of my life. Happiness isn't nearly as fickle a thing when you're exhausted.