Winter on Hatcher Mountain

Beth asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this February. Well, I said, there’s a forecast for 7 to 10 inches of snow up in the Smoky Mountains. Let’s go to our cabin for a few days! She granted my wish but, things didn’t turn out exactly as planed.

Our Cabin - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN

The big storm was going to be Saturday night so we drove up on Friday and stocked up on provisions Saturday morning. The good news is we got plenty of precipitation. The bad news is that it all came in the form of ice. LOTS of ice!



Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


Everything in the area was coated with a thick and heavy layer of ice.





Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


Usually in the South, ice and snow don’t linger. The weather warms up and it goes away.

Not this time. The temps dropped to the teens during the day and below zero at night.


Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN

Even though we’ve got a big 4×4 vehicle, it’s pretty useless on solid ice.

The roads were so slick and steep that I couldn’t even walk on the pavement. Our remote location is private so nobody salts or plows out here. We were on our own.



Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN

Oh well, we’ve got plenty of food and there’s nobody else up here. How nice!

Then we lost electricity. An ice loaded tree must have taken out the power lines somewhere. Oh great, no lights, no water, no heat and we can’t drive down the mountain.


Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN

Things weren’t totally bleak. I had planned that we might lose power and had filled a bathtub with water in case our well pump lost power. Also, I had made sure our gas grill had a full bottle of propane for cooking. In addition, the main level of our cabin has gas logs that work fine without electricity. Bring it on!


Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


Immediately after we lost electricity I put in a trouble call to the local electric company. A little over 6 hours later we got power back. YAY!

We were lucky because many homes were without power for over a week.


Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN

Now we’re counting our blessings…

We have food, water, heat, lights and the beautiful serenity of the Smokies in winter.

But, we came up here for snow…not ice. Queue the snow!





Our Cabin - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


What do you know. Another weather system came in and delivered my birthday snow.

Hurray! Now I can get some snow pictures. Maybe some in whiteout conditions. Cool.


Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


I’m loving it. Running around like a crazy person snapping shots of everything. Even an artsy B&W image of the front porch on our neighbor’s cabin. Groovy.





Our Cabin - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


Now that’s more like it! Heavy snow you can barely see through. THIS is winter in the Smokies by golly.




Paddy - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN


Once the snow had stopped it was time to hike around the mountain. Paddy, the wonder dog, and I are hot on the trail of 2 bears. The tracks are fresh and appear to be a mother and cub.



Paddy - Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN

The ice was still everywhere but the snow actually added enough friction that I could somewhat walk on the roads without falling. After a while Paddy and I break off our hunt. We’re approaching a blind curve in the road and don’t want to round the corner and surprise the bears.



Hatcher Mountain - Wears Valley, TN

I love seeing how the birds stay warm by puffing out their feathers and finding a place out of the wind.

Speaking of wind, towards the end of our stay we got 50 mph sustained winds and 70 mph gusts. It was downright scary! I had to lash the grill to the side of our cabin to keep it from blowing through the deck railing.

I wanted to experience the full Smoky Mountain winter weather treatment and we certainly got it. Just like some reality TV show. At times it was a little too realistic though. Our short planned visit ended up being about 10 days until we could safely drive down the mountain. What a fantastic adventure and great birthday!

7 thoughts on “Winter on Hatcher Mountain

  1. Great story! Great pics! I was waiting for the pic of the black bears!! We are well-blessed that the power company got our power on so quickly! Happy Birthday!!

    Chris Rehmann

  2. Those are wonderful pictures! I’d like to say that we would have enjoyed the hunker down party with you guys, but I was happy to stay snug at home this time. 🙂

  3. I have been in my own little world down here in New Orleans hardly even watching TV. We’ve had snow in the last five years I’ve lived in Gold Leaf but never lost electricity. I really dodged the bullet this time. Did you run out of food? You could always rob my freezer. When I return, I’ll bring some King cake Vodka. It warms you to the point of not caring you’re iced in. Beautiful photographs and love your blog!!!

  4. LOVED the blog. Don and I have been wondering how the climate has been up there, so thanks for the update! Would have loved being snowed in with yas – could have had a party! We were also looking for a pic of the bears which would have been awesome! Know it’s absolutely breathtaking and beautiful with all the ice and snow and know you’re the only ones up there.
    Thanks again!

  5. Liked your snow pictures. I have seen about all want to see at this point. One snow storm after another here at Beech Mountain. You make it look pretty inspite of the inconvence of it all. Keep up the good work.

  6. Bill, you were really blessed that everything went as well as it has! Your snow pictures are beautiful. I did keep thinking that I might see those two bears! Happy Belated and snowy Birthday!

  7. Wow Bill! This was a great (except for the loss of electricity part) blog and I enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for sharing and we wish you a very belated Happy Birthday!!!! We’ll be at our cabin (Smoky Mt. Views) in June, so we’ll see you then!
    Laura & Steve Furderer

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