November 19, 2017
3:00 PM Update:
Well, after a delicious gut-busting feast, it's a little harder to find the motivation to move around camp. We've topped off at 2" of snow, and despite being teased by patches of blue sky, the peak just can't quite seem to shake the cloud cover. The temperature has stabilized at 21 degrees for much of the day. Places where hikers have packed down the snow are sure to be hazardous. Other places where the snow remains untouched are able to provide better traction at this point. Trekking poles and traction devices are still advised.
Our cooks absolutely spoiled us with a mighty and savory feast. Taste bud conflicts ensued with wanting second opinions of the main course, or saving room for desserts. One thing is for sure, nobody walked away hungry or dissatisfied. After cleanup, an impromptu snowball battle sprang up behind the kitchen, marked by constant laughter and eventually soaking wet crew members. All the makings of a fabulous, fun-filled day on the mountain.
US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) is still temporarily closed. Visitors have been able to successfully scale the mountain via Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap Trails today. Guests are being asked to utilize these two trails for the time being as their access roads remain open. Remember that these trails are 1.7 miles longer than Alum Cave, and require more of an elevation gain, so you'll want to account for that in your timetable, especially since hiking in snow and ice takes a little more effort as well.
Have a great rest of the afternoon.
8:30 AM Update:
We went to bed in a spring-like rain and woke up to a pristine winter wonderland on this delightful Sunday before Thanksgiving. Temperatures dropped fast after midnight and the precipitation made the jump from rain to ice to snow. Skies are trying to open up, and the snow has subsided, but not before covering the mountain top with 2" of fresh powder. Rain and snow melt combined for 0.9" making for an icy layer underneath. Traction devices will be crucial for making the climb today, especially as foot steps pack down the accumulation and make it incredibly slick. Yesterday's high temperature came in at 45, and then it dropped all the way to 19 degrees for breakfast. Winds are not as strong as they were on Saturday, but the occasional gust can chill you to the core without the proper layering.
US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) remains closed at this time and will likely stay that way today, as upper elevation temperatures are not expected to surpass the freezing mark. Cherokee Orchard and Roaring Fork are still open, so guests are being asked to utilized the Rainbow Falls or Trillium Gap Trails at this time. If you come across downed trees, please notify the lodge staff and/or the NPS so that we can work swiftly to get trails cleared. Thank you and be safe out there!
11/19/2017 09:35:10 am
So beautiful! Thanks for allowing us to see this beauty thru your eyes!
Roseanna J Coates
11/19/2017 09:45:19 am
My Mama stayed there many times with a blind preacher from Frankkin,N.C. Preacher Morgan I think...I would live to stay there n experience what she did.She went to Heaven in 95' n I still hear stories in my head.Her name was Mrs.Mildred Roper Coates.
11/19/2017 03:00:58 pm
Well that's a pretty sight. Down here at around 1,100 feet elevation near town it was all rain but when I saw the top of Cove Mountain was white this morning I knew y'all must have gotten a good coating.
11/19/2017 04:50:24 pm
Just beautiful ! I love the snowmen ! Happy Thanksgiving to all !
11/19/2017 06:55:24 pm
Fabulous feast and fun for a fabulous crew! Happy Thanksgiving!
11/19/2017 07:19:31 pm
Great post! If my knee were better I'd be up there in a flash! Great looking Thanksgiving table! All of you have done an exceptional job up there this year. Thanks so much! Would like to hear of your winter plans, and if JP will be back.
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