It's another pretty morning up top. The high yesterday reached a brisk 23 degrees. The low was 16 degrees. It was 22 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received the snowfall equivalent of .04 inches of liquid precipitation. There is still about an inch of snow on the ground up top. The trails should be in pretty good shape. The new snow usually has decent traction until it gets packed down, thaws and refreezes. I would still recommend taking along Microspikes in case you run into some slick areas. I would expect 441 to open at some point today, once the Park Service declares it is safe to drive.
I caught a magical hour last evening. I headed out towards sunset around 5pm with my friend Sean. As we approached Cliff Tops, you could see through the barren winter trees this showing was to be filled with promise. The clouds churned slowly down in the valley, moving in a hypnotic motion above the Chimneys. The rest of the cloud cover hung heavy over Knoxville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge forming a gorgeous inversion cap. The sunset's colours were unreal, meant to be seen, not described. The nearly full moon illuminated the snow covered trails on my way back to my cabin, a dim path making my headlamp superfluous. The snow sparkled in the moonlight. It was that kind of night.
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