As we shake off a few clouds to start the day, conditions are clearing up and should make for a beautiful holiday to be in the Smokies. The mountain stayed pretty cloudy yesterday, and it sure was windy. Temps managed to get up into the mid 40s before the rain moved in, misting us with about a quarter inch of liquid precip. Our low only got down to 35°. We’ll be in the 40s again today and light winds are still expected, so use caution out on the trails.
Since the lodge is now closed for the winter, day hikers will need to be extra diligent about preparing for their hike. There are no day hiker services available, so no snacks or merchandise being sold. Water is only accessible from the spring heading down Trillium Gap Trail, so bring filters or purifiers if you are nervous about drinking natural spring water. There are no buildings open for seeking shelter, so what you decide to wear and pack is your best protection from the elements and temperatures. And know when to turn around. Getting caught out late in the day with an inappropriate amount of warm and dry layers can easily be one’s undoing, and there are no guarantees that someone would be readily available to rescue you.
Even though the lodge is closed, our winter caretaker will be present surveying the facility and communicating with the NPS. Camping of any kind on lodge grounds is strictly prohibited and will be reported to NPS law enforcement immediately. And bribes of any kind to the winter caretaker will not be accepted. Seeing as how we are still in a pandemic, visitors should respect the health and safety of our caretaker and other visitors while on premises, as safe social distancing practices are still encouraged.
Our caretaker continues to get settled in to his cozy cabin confines and is excited for what the winter off-season has in store. We are equally excited to have Pnut back up top keeping folks in tune with what’s happening on the mountain. Thank you and have a great holiday.