December on the Parkway

Brrr! December in western North Carolina is off to a chilly start. Nevertheless, my friend Jenna and I headed up 215 to do a little exploring yesterday. Indeed, the Blue Ridge Parkway is currently closed south of 276. So, we accessed the Mountains to Sea Trail from 215. As we parked the car, the thermometer read about 24 degrees. Still, the sun was out, the dogs were eager, and off we went.

The big question right now is whether or not there is snow on The Parkway. We saw no snow on the road at all, but much of the higher elevations are dusted with an ethereal white covering. The pine trees on ridgelines are totally white and the trails look covered in sugar. It snowed gently while we hiked on icy, crusty paths, but it looked more like glitter than big, puffy flakes. The trails are not at all deep, but the ice is sometimes deceptive, making it a good time to pull out true hiking boots or treking poles for added support.

We also took a peak at the ice forming on 215, and it looks like mid week could yield some great ice climbing conditions. Hopefully, the wind will go away. By the time we got back to the car via Flat Laurel Creek Trail, the car thermometer read 16 degrees. If you are headed up on The Parkway, remember that it can be a good 15-20 degrees cooler than in Brevard and Asheville. Plus, the winds can make it seem a good bit colder and the sun quickly ducks behind ridgelines on these short days. So be sure to pack ample layers, water and snacks. Enjoy!

Cold Weather Hiking Gear

Pisgah Forest Map
Darn Tough Socks
Black Diamond Access Glove
Marmot Wool Beanie
Montbell Thermawrap Parka
The North Face Hydration Pack
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

Climb Globally, Shop Locally
Looking Glass Outfitters
69 Hendersonville Hwy
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

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