A short drive from the western entrance to the park at Gatlinburg rewarded my family with a winter wonderland not predicted by the weathermen. The temperature was dropping to freezing as we climbed, and suddenly snow covered the trees and branches on the higher ridges. This was a total surprise.
Every bend in Highway 441 revealed more whiteness.
The first major overlook was magical with the encrusted trees filling the western horizon.
It was almost sunset, and snow clouds hovered above the ridges.
Along the roadway, a creek was framed by the snow, which appeared blue in the dimming light.
A footbridge welcomed lucky visitors to this unusual winter display.
In some places the snow seemed heavier, and the absence of any wind allowed the flakes to cling to the needles.
The light was rapidly disappearing, but the beauty was frozen all around us.
The sun was down, but the twilight made the clouds seem to glow from within. You just never know what nature has in store from hour to hour in the amazing park.
Driving back to the north, Gatlinburg was oblivious to what we had just experienced. This may be the most memorable New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had.