Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

For this Florida girl, born and raised on the Gulf Coast where white powder means the sugar sand that gets caught between my toes at the beach, snow is something of an enigma.  Yes, it has snowed in Florida.  But Florida snow is more like a Sno-cone that has been sitting out in the hot sun for a few hours.  It is wet and thin, and melts into the sidewalk within minutes, even on the chilliest day.  I had yet to see real snow, deep snow, the kind you can make a ball out of and nail someone in the back with.

 Creek as trail along the Sweat Heifer Creek portion of the hike up to Charlie's Bunion

We hiked up to Charlie's Bunion in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently (a hike not to be missed should you ever go there), traversing a bit of the Appalachian Trail, and making it up to a little over 6,000 feet. 

That morning, we prepared for a typical early April hike in that area: we dressed in layers, brought our winter hats and gloves, and packed plenty of water.  However when we got there, it was very warm, even in the higher elevations.  And everything was covered in a thick blanket of beautiful white snow.

I've mentioned the duality of the Smokies in early spring before; it seems that winter has been reluctant to let go of her tight grip on the mountains this year, and while the temperatures were screaming that spring had most definitely sprung, the landscape was painting a quite different picture.

Winter wonderland in Spring in the Smoky Mountains

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