Short snowy hike at Grandfather Mountain, NC

9:43 a.m. on December 7, 2009 (EST)
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Here's what I did yesterday.

First snow hike in a few years -- bit of a wake-up call that I might need some winter gear.

7:41 p.m. on December 7, 2009 (EST)
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Nice shots - hope you were pretty well zoomed in on that mountain lion! What kind of camera are you using?

9:20 p.m. on December 7, 2009 (EST)
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It was a basic Canon A710is; it has a 6x zoom.

I was never in any danger from the mountain lion; it was in a "wildlife habitat," a fancy name for a mini-zoo.

Pictures of lions seen in the wild always seem to look like the lion's making up its mind whether to eat the photographer. This one seemed a bit bored.

8:14 p.m. on December 8, 2009 (EST)
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Nice trip report Tom.

You stepping in the water is just a good reminder for all of us that things can, and will, go wrong. I have had very few trips where things went exactly as planned, or I didn't have some type of small problem.

As far as S. Appalachian weather goes, here is a short article I have found interesting which explains why the weather patterns are so dynamic in the region. We can have sunny days, and then an ice storm with high winds all in the same week. Sometimes the lower elevations receive snow / sleet / ice and the higher elevations just get rain...odd.

http://www.appvoices.org/index.php?/site/voice_stories/western_ocean_climate_in_the_eastern_mountains/issue/532

This is from the Website 'Appalachian Voices', you can also learn about mountain top removal and water pollution among other topics.

Thanks for sharing the photos Tom! I haven't been to Grandfather in a while, but it's on my list. Those small fees some areas charge are really a great bargain if you consider the value of the overall experience, don't you think?

Oh....did they still have the black bears?

8:33 p.m. on December 8, 2009 (EST)
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I think the bears are still there, but access to their area was blocked (sidewalk too steep and slippery, I imagine).

Did you know the side trailheads to Grandfather are free to enter now? You have to self-register but there's no fee.

I'm eager to get back up there, but I doubt the weather will cooperate between now and the end of winter. You really need three or four warm dry days for the upper trails to thaw, dry out and become safe again, I suspect, and then you have to be free to drive up there on that fourth day. Major challenge.

Thanks for the weather link, it was most informative -- especially for explaining the fog bank I always hit at Wilkesboro on the way up to the mountains.

11:30 p.m. on December 10, 2009 (EST)
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The Fog!

Wasn't that a movie? It could be in NC or TN. Probably true of lots of other places I'm sure.

I did not know the side trails are free now, Thanks Tom.

Some of the better places I've hiked in the Southeast either let you self register, or there is no system at all, not saying that is the best way to do it, just my experience.

August 29, 2014
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