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.
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!
Everything in the area was coated with a thick and heavy layer of ice.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Now that’s more like it! Heavy snow you can barely see through. THIS is winter in the Smokies by golly.
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.
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.
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!