We received 2.5 inches of snow Tuesday, more than the forecast but not a huge deal. The snow depth won't be too big a concern while hiking, but there will certainly be some slick spots on all the trails. Austin, one of our crew members, did a day hike down Alum Cave Bluff Trail Tuesday and was glad he had traction devices for the top third of the trail. He would recommend them for hiking today.
Another big factor overnight is the bitter cold. We bottomed out at 4 degrees this morning. As of 7:45 a.m., the temperature reads 9 degrees. It's a bitterly cold morning complicated by gusty winds, which picked up overnight and are still blowing. We don't have official wind readings at the lodge, but we were surely experiencing wind chills below 0 most of the night and morning.
The good news is that skies above the mountain are currently clear and that the forecast calls for decreasing wind and no more precipitation today. The bad news is that it's likely to remain bitterly cold through Thursday morning.
Also, Highway 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee was closed yesterday and remains so as of Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. However, park officials were working hard on the road and expect to open it soon.
Also, our llama truck and trailer got stuck on an icy patch near the Trillium Gap Trailhead on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Park officials are also working on that stretch of road and will have it open as soon as they can. As I mentioned yesterday, the Park Service has provided a recorded information line at 865-436-1200. For road closure information, enter 631 at the voice prompt. For a five-day NWS forecast, enter 630 at the voice prompt.
We remain open for business and look forward to seeing you. All of our scheduled guests arrived safely last night, albeit cold. Please be careful, leave early and use good judgment on the trails today. Happy trails.