It’s currently 32 and crystal clear up top. Yesterday’s high made it up to 34 degrees; our low was 21 degrees. The trails up top are in great condition, with little ice present. The constant winds have subsided, giving this red squirrel a little break. He used his tail as a wind guard while he soaked up the sun's precious rays, clever.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as I walked out to sunrise. The smell of my pinon coffee blended exceptionally well with the nearby spruce. Still tired from yesterday’s 10+ mile run, out and back along the Boulevard Trail. I looked out and remarked at how simple the sunrise was. I quickly laughed at myself.
Just over two years ago, I had my first extended experience in the Great Smoky Mountains NP while thru-hiking north along the Appalachian Trail. It was 50 degrees and raining, every day. It was a spectacular challenge. I dreamed of bluebird days. Did they even exist in a place with a name like Great Smoky Mountains? What would these mountains look like without a blanket of clouds? While soaking up this ‘simple’ sunrise, I couldn’t help but revel in its simplicity. It may have taken a couple years, but those questions, my what-if dreams, were answered.