Monday, December 10, 2018

Something To Remember: N.E.A.R

You've probably heard dozens of times the old adage that you should remain in place if you were ever to become lost or injured in the wilderness. But does this advice makes sense in every situation? Last week I was watching SOS: How to Survive on the Weather Channel. The host, Creek Stewart, introduced a "test" to determine whether you should remain in place, or take steps to self-evacuate. The "test" asks three simple questions. The answer to these questions could save your life one day:





Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Saturday, December 8, 2018

What Was The Firefall Tradition in Yosemite?

In 1871 James McCauley began construction on the Four Mile Trail, a precipitous footpath that still carries hikers from the Yosemite Valley floor to Glacier Point, while gaining more than 3200 feet along the way. McCauley, who was closely associated with the Mountain House, a hotel built atop Glacier Point in 1873, is most famous for initiating the “firefall” tradition, which lasted almost one hundred years. Although there’s some dispute as to why, when and who originated the firefall, McCauley is generally recognized as being the first person to shove fire over the cliff at Glacier Point, likely in 1871 or 1872. During the first several decades the ritual was conducted on an irregular basis, but by the 1920s it had become a nightly feature during the summer months. According to the June 1934 edition of Yosemite Nature Notes, workers gathered red fir bark from fallen trees during the day, sometimes accumulating as much as a quarter of a cord of wood. Around 7:00 p.m. a bonfire was lit, and then at roughly 9:00 p.m., after the pile had been reduced to a mound of red hot coals, the fire tender would slowly shove the glowing embers over the side of the cliff, thus giving the appearance to everyone in the valley below that a solid stream of fire was falling from the precipice. My new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, chronicles some of the other pyro rituals surrounding the "firefall" tradition, as well as the ironic fate of the Mountain House. And yes, the 1970s soft-rock band is named after the ritual. Ramble On is now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1725036266/



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, December 7, 2018

Weather Alert (updated): MAJOR WINTER STORM TO IMPACT THE REGION THIS WEEKEND

The Great Smoky Mountains just announced that US Hwy 441/Newfound Gap Road from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC will close tonight at 10 pm due to forecast ice and snow. The Blue Ridge Parkway posted this tweet: In preparation of Winter Storm Diego, Parkway Officials anticipate road and facility closures to begin Saturday afternoon. To check the current road status access the real-time road map. http://go.nps.gov/realtimeroadmap

Here's the updated weather forecast for the Smoky Mountains region as of late Friday afternoon - The following is from the National Weather Service:
Cold high pressure along the East Coast will interact with a moist low pressure system moving out of the Gulf of Mexico Saturday night into Sunday. Moderate to heavy precipitation will fall as a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain across the region. Accumulations are expected to be greatest in western North Carolina. Temperatures will be cold enough across northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia for precipitation to begin as a mixture of rain, snow, and sleet in lower elevations, with mainly snow in the mountains. The best lift and moisture will arrive on Saturday night and continue through Sunday, with significant snow accumulations possible.

...WINTER STORM WATCH NOW IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY EVENING THROUGH MONDAY MORNING...

* WHERE...The mountains and foothills of western North Carolina, along and west of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The highest snow and sleet accumulations are expected to be at high elevations along the Escarpment. The mountains of far northwest South Carolina, and far northeast Georgia.

* WHAT...Heavy mixed precipitation expected. Most of the precipitation will be snow. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 17 inches are expected, with accumulations increasing from south to north and as elevation increases. Ice accumulations of around a tenth of an inch are also expected.

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* WHERE...Southwest Virginia and the mountains of East Tennessee and southwest North Carolina.

* WHAT...Heavy mixed precipitation expected. Total snow accumulations of up to 14 inches and ice accumulations of around one quarter of an inch expected.

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* WHEN...From noon Saturday to noon EST Monday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Travel could become very difficult or even impossible. Road conditions could deteriorate as early as Saturday evening, with highway travel continuing to be impacted through early next week. Widespread, prolonged power outages are possible. Tree damage is likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.

For the latest updates and forecasts, please click here.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tree Removal Work on Spur and Newfound Gap Road

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced temporary, single-lane closures along the Spur and a four-mile section of Newfound Gap Road from Sugarlands Visitor Center to the Chimney Tops Trailhead beginning Monday, December 11 through Friday, March 15 for tree removal work through the fire-affected areas.

The roadways will remain open, but motorists should expect single-lane closures during daylight hours from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. No work will be allowed on weekends from 12:00 noon on Fridays through Sunday evenings, federal holidays, or between December 21, 2018 and January 6, 2019.

For more information about temporary road closures on all park roads, please visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm. For information about temporary road closures on main park roads, follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on twitter or receive text messages directly by texting ‘FollowSmokiesRoadsNPS’ to 40404.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Smokies Hosts Annual Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a Holiday Homecoming at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on Saturday, December 15, 2018. Park staff and volunteers will provide hands-on traditional crafts and activities from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Children and adults will have the opportunity to learn about and experience some of the traditions surrounding an Appalachian Christmas.

The visitor center will be decorated for the holiday season including an exhibit on Christmas in the mountains. Hot apple cider and cookies will be served on the porch with a fire in the fireplace. In addition, the park will host the monthly acoustic old-time jam session from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“Musical expression was and still is often a part of daily life in the southern mountains, and mountain music is strongly tied to the Smokies history and culture,” said Supervisory Ranger Lynda Doucette. “We would like to invite musicians to play and our visitors to join us in singing traditional Christmas carols and holiday songs as was done in old days.”

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is located on Newfound Gap Road, two miles north of Cherokee, NC. For more information call the visitor center at 828-497-1904. All activities are free and open to the public. Generous support of this event is provided by the Great Smoky Mountains Association.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Smokies To Host Annual Festival of Christmas Past Program

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration on Saturday, December 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center. The event, sponsored in cooperation with Great Smoky Mountains Association, is free to the public.

The festival will include mountain music, traditional shape note singing, mountain craft demonstrations, and a living history walk. Visitors can experience these traditions through hands-on activities including make-and-take craft stations. Hot apple cider will also be served throughout the day.

“Around Christmas time, people gathered in churches, homes, and schools where they celebrated the holiday through music, storytelling, and crafts,” said North District Resource Education Supervisor Stephanie Sutton. “The Festival of Christmas Past allows us to pause and remember some of these traditions.”

The popular Christmas Memories Walk will be held at 11:30 a.m. Costumed interpreters will lead a short walk from the visitor center and talk about life in the mountains during the holidays. Through this living history program, visitors will experience the spirit of the season in the mountains during the early days.

The full schedule of events at Sugarlands Visitor Center includes:

Programs:
9:30 a.m. Traditional Shape Note Singing
11:15 a.m. Winter in the Natural World Program
12:00 noon Music by the Lost Mill String Band
12:45 p.m. “The Night before Christmas” Reading
1:00 p.m. Cherokee Storytelling with Kathi Littlejohn
2:00 p.m. Music by Boogertown Gap
2:45 p.m. Traditional Reading of the Christmas Story
3:00 p.m. Caroling/Sing Along

Activities:
10:00-1:00 Wreath-making
10:00-2:00 Craft and Trade Demonstrations
11:30 a.m. Christmas Memories Walk
12:00-2:00 Children’s Crafts

Sugarlands Visitor Center is located on Newfound Gap Road, two miles south of Gatlinburg, TN. For more information, call the visitor center at 865-436-1291.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Why Were Locomotive Bells Placed Atop Mountain Passes in Glacier National Park?

Did you know that locomotive bells were once placed atop four mountain passes in Glacier National Park? Why were they placed there, who pushed the idea, and what became of them? If you would like to learn more about this fascinating time period during the early years of Glacier National Park, as well as many other stories associated with the history of hiking, you can find them in my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1725036266/



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking