Heavy Blue Ridge Snows of January 22nd

A foot of snow fell last Friday here in Otter Creek Valley. That’s the heaviest snowfall since I moved to this valley almost seven years ago. The following images and videos capture the essence of the event. It was beautiful from the time I awoke Friday morning, to yesterday morning before the warmer weather moved in, five days of snow Heaven.

This 11 second video was made at dawn Friday when I first realized what had happened during the night.

This one minute video was made when I first ventured outside, and my canine friends arrived from their home nearby.

Dark House

First Light

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Second Morning

This video was made Saturday morning. Light snow was still falling.

TwilightTwilight Saturday evening…

Pond ReedsThe Sun appeared on Sunday morning. Otter Pond was completely frozen over…

Icicle BlueSome icicles were three feet long…

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The view from a small window toward Bear Gap Mountain

Johns ChairMy favorite spot to watch sunsets from the woods behind the house…

Creek Bend

Otter Creek at sunrise on Wednesday morning…

Otter Creek Road

Otter Creek Road five days after the storm…

 

 

First Snowfall of the Season

With the first flakes forecasted to fly yesterday morning, I awoke with much anticipation, only to find a cold rain and 35 degrees. From past experience, I knew that chances were good that the snow line was very close, so I headed west up Cedar Creek Road, and sure ‘nuf, I hit the first flurries just 15 minutes from the house. 

mountain

Up ahead I could see the snow line on the mountain, and as I climbed about 300 feet in elevation, the rain turned to all snow. The temperature dropped to 32 degrees, and I was the only car on the road just after daybreak.

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Bat Cave-Old Fort Road above 1,600 feet.

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Cabin on Stone Mountain School Road

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My first name happens to be Roy…

caddyFlakes were quite large at this point. Amazing what an inch of new snow can do…

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Nearing the Gap between Stone and Round Mountains

GraveyardPassing over the Gap at 2,300 feet, I found this old graveyard on the Stone Mountain side. The snow was no longer falling, and within ten minutes, the sun appeared as I made the return trip down the mountain.

HorsetopBack in Otter Creek Valley twenty minutes later, 2,500′ Roan Horsetop Mountain showed only patches of snow at its summit. I was so glad that I chased this first snow. Below is the short video I made of the experience. For those of you who have chosen to FOLLOW my blog, and are seeing this in your e-mail, click on the headline above to go directly to the full blog to see the video.

 

Winter Views from Young’s Mountain

Just to the northeast of iconic Lake Lure, on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, sits 2,800 foot Young’s Mountain. During most of the year,  the views from the mountain are obscured by thick forests of deciduous trees.  During the months of deep winter, those leaves are gone, and the view opens in all directions. 

Round Mountain

Round Mountain in eastern Buncombe County catches the last rays of the setting Sun in this northwesterly view.

South View 1

4,000 foot Sugarloaf Mountain dominates this southerly view. Lake Lure lies far below this roadway at the entrance to Hickory Nut Gorge and its most famous feature, Chimney Rock.

Stone Mountain

In this westerly view, Stone Mountain stands between Mount Shumont to the south, and Hickory Nut Mountain to the north.

Piedmont 1

Turning toward the east, the expansive Piedmont Plateau stretches as far as the eye can see.

Piedmont 2

Toward the southeast, Bill’s Mountain overlooks the lakes of Apple Valley Golf Course, with the skyscrapers of Charlotte just over the horizon in the center.

kings Mtn

A closer look at the Piedmont’s southeastern horizon reveals Crowder Mountain on the left and King’s Mountain to the right. During the final weeks of the Revolutionary War, the British forces under General Cornwallis, were defeated by the Continental Army in the fields beneath both of these mounds, leading to total victory by General George Washington at Yorktown, and the unconditional surrender of all British forces.

mt-mitchell-snow

Looking to the north-northwest, the Black Mountain range, with towering Mt. Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Mississippi, is covered with a recent snowfall. The large home in the lower left was the HGTV Dream Home in 2006, the only home ever completed in the financially troubled Grey Rock gated community north of Lake Lure. Below is an architect’s rendering of the expansive log and stone masterpiece. Current owners purchased the home from the contest winners in 2009, and are happy to have the entire development to themselves. Who can blame them?

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Below is the view of Young’s Mountain from inside the Dream Home…

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

Young’s Mountain in winter .

 

 

 

 

Upper Whitewater Falls

Falls Railing

After recent heavy rains along the southern Blue Ridge escarpment, I knew that the waterfalls would be VERY active, so I went to the Upper Falls along the Whitewater River just north of the North/South Carolina state line in Transylvania County. I wasn’t disappointed.

Top Falls

Click on any image to see a full screen version.

Middle Falls

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The pooch seems unaffected by the awesome display behind him.

Looking to the south, Lake Keowee is nestled between distant ridges,   and Clemson University lies just over the horizon.

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Lake Keowee

Best Falls

Together with the lower falls, just downriver from the falls shown above, these are the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains at 800 feet. To get the full power of the falling water, watch this short video. Remember, if you are viewing this as part of your e-mail, click on the headline above to go directly to the blog site, and you’ll be able to watch the video.

Otter Creek After Heavy December Rains

An early morning hike along normally peaceful Otter Creek just a few miles north of Lake Lure revealed a swollen and very active mountain stream. Over a foot of rain so far this month has saturated the soil and filled the ponds and rivers in Rutherford County.

Otter Pond, below, that feeds into Otter Creek, is overfull, and the earthen dam is being monitored for integrity.
Otter Pond Under Oak Mountain

There are two short videos shown below. The first was made on December 27th after rains before Christmas had swollen the creek. The second was made today, December 29th, after four inches of rain fell during the night. The creek had actually been three feet higher during the night, evidenced by large logs and debris dislodged by the higher water.

Uptown Charlotte in December

A walk through Uptown Charlotte to attend an NFL game can be a real treat early on a Sunday morning.

The skyline shimmers above a park waterfall…

Fountain

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Bank of America Tower by Ceasar Pelli

Queenie

The city’s namesake, Queen Charlotte, keeps watch over her Dominion…

Ols and New

One of only two surviving early 20th century skyscrapers.

Uncle Buck

The last of the 19th century dowagers hangs on facing an uncertain future.

Linville Falls Community and Winery

Just west of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linville Falls entrance is a mountain top development called Blackpoint at Linville Falls. It sits atop grass covered hills in a sparsely settled area known mostly for growing Christmas trees.

Green Field

Green Hillside

A few very nice homes have been built below the crests of the hills.

Two Homes

One Home

To the north is a the new Linville Falls Winery and Christmas tree farm.

Winery

Check out this short video about this award winning mountain vineyard. 

To the south is the impressive Black Mountain range and Mt. Mitchell.

Mitchell SUnset

This ancient Oak clings to the rocky hillside at sunset.

Old Tree

In the Autumn, the entrance is ablaze with color.

Linville Reflections

In the winter the entrance is like a Christmas card.

Linville Reflections 2

The best part of all is that just twenty minutes to the east is breathtaking Linville Falls and Linville Gorge, the Grand Canyon of the East. If this isn’t Paradise, I don’t know what is.

Linville Gorge South

 

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