The forecast for this past Monday indicated that we would have some lingering rain and clouds early in the morning, but we could expect some clearing by mid-day. With that forecast, we agreed that we might have some questionable weather on the way out, but hoped that the clouds will have passed by the time we reached the bald.
Driving up Newfound Gap didn't look promising. Extremely thick fog made for a very slow drive. As you can see from the first couple of photos, the fog was fairly thick on the trail as well.
Interesting rock formations at the junction the Appalachian Trail and the spur trail from the Clingmans Dome parking lot.
You've probably heard of the movie "Gorillas in the Mist." How about "Squirrels in the Mist!"
Double Spring Gap shelter - roughly the half-way point to Silers Bald.
A little bit of clearing! That is a ridgeline coming off the northern side of Silers Bald. Unfortunately the clearing didn't last. Before we could reach the summit, Silers Bald was completely socked in again. As you might expect, we didn't see anything from the summit.
We passed several Appalachian Trail thru-hikers along the way. All of them complained that they hadn't seen anything for days. Several of the hikers were making their first trip to the Smokies (we meet hikers from CA, WA, MD, PA and MO), and were quite dissapointed that the only thing they had seen so far was fog.
On our return, roughly a mile from Clingmans Dome, the fog cleared out on the North Carolina side of the trail. For a brief window we had some dramatic views that made the whole hike worth it. Within ten minutes of shooting the pictures below, strong winds kicked-up from the north and blew fog back into the southern Smokies. Just like that we lost our views again. We saw fog the rest of the day until reaching the lower portions of Newfound Gap Road.