GSMNP October 2010

I have not posted an adventure in a while. Work has been very hectic and family has taken every bit of free time. I decided to take 2 full weeks off after a work conference at the end of September. The first week, I planned to take Vicky to the Redwoods in Northern California, but  the day before we were suppose to leave I went to the doctor at 9 am to check out some stomach pains I had been having, during the conference the week before and by 3 pm that day I was having my appendix out! I spent the next 3 days in the hospital.
After spending the remainder of the week at home resting, I did manage to get away for about 4 days in the Smoky Mountains. 

When I arrived in the Smokies it was actually snowing on Clingman's Dome.

As I drove higher up the mountain the clouds got lower and lower
 Finally at the top it was a blizzard

The wind had frozen the ice and snow in the direction that the wind blows up the mountain
 The observation point at the top of Clingman's Dome was a sled ride

The snow clouds held low to the moutain and it was only really snowing at the very top.
 It made for some eerie pictures

What a difference a day makes. The very next day standing in the same parking lot at Clingman's Dome. The temperature was still in the 30's but as clear as a bell.
 Christine had to continue to work for the first few days I was in the park. She was putting the finishing touches on Forney Ridge Trail for a big review of the trail coming up the following week

I hiked out to Andrew's Bald and enjoyed the sunshine and the beautiful day. It was chilly, but I was dressed for it and even took a nap in the tall grass at the bald. The changing weather made for some strange cloud formations.
 The colors in the trees had not changed yet. It was about 2 weeks early for the peak of color this year, but the wildflowers were still out.

The next day I hiked alone up Mingus Creek, with a stop by the Mingus Mill. This is still a working mill inside the park that makes flour using the water to turn the milling stones

The water is diverted from Mingus Creek into the mill
 The flowers along the trail were again nice to look at in the cool temperatures

Relaxing at the top of Mingus Creek. It was about 3 miles straight up... I am suppose to be resting..

 The colors hadn't quite started to turn in the tops of the trees

 When Christine was free, we went on a hike across the park starting at the famous "Tunnel to Nowhere". It was a fantastic day and the hike was easy and relaxing... a few ground yellow jackets made it exciting for Christine.

The day took us along Forney Creek Trail
 Relaxing and enjoying our lunch stop along the creek.

 Later in the day, we went and saw two waterfalls that are in the Deep Creek section of the Park.
Juney Whank Falls- below

Indian Creek Falls

 The next day we made a hike that started at New Found Gap parking lot and started up the AT. The high pressure gave us continued perfect weather

 The inversion of the clouds in the valley. Low areas could be completely fogged in, but just a little higher up, completely blue skies!
 It was a great few days of relaxation
The low and high pressure mix the first day I arrived in the Park made for some very strange cloud formations at Clingman's Dome.- video below

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