Monday, December 25, 2006

A Merry Christmas from Your Smokies

One crisp morning last January a light snow started falling in Gatlinburg before dawn broke. I walked out on the deck of my cabin near the Roaring Fork and decided to hike up to Mount Le Conte in the fresh snow.

I bundled up and drove to the Roaring Fork motor trail expecting to park near the Rainbow Falls parking area, but enough snow feel that the gates were closed. The road ahead of me was dusted with snow and besides foot prints from white tail deer and small animals the snow was pristine.

I grabbed my camera and hiking poles and headed up hill through the virgin snow. The peace and beauty were over whelming. Every few minutes I could hear the sound of snow falling from the rhododendron leaves because it piled to high for them to hold another single flake.

I reached the trailhead for Rainbow falls which would take me past the falls all the way to Le Conte. The snow was already past my ankles but I knew this hike would be worth the effort. Hiking parallel to the creek which was to my right I kept stopping to catch my breath - not from exertion but just the sheer beauty of the Smokies in winter.

The roar of the ice cold creek in the ravine was strong, but not so much that I couldn't hear the deer to my left bolt into the woods in a flash - too fast for me to take a picture but long enough for me to enjoy. I turned to continue up the trail and saw some ferns peeking through some snow in an area where some large pine tress sheltered them from the brunt of the snow.

Even though it was mid January all I could think was Christmas and click - here it is!

Christmas in the Smokies

Hundreds of pictures that day - some spectacular - some inspirational - this one, simple and plain speaks to me about Christmas and peace.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas with a happy and healthy New Year to all of our visitors, customers, sales persons and vendors. I could not have the best job in the world without each and every one of you. May all of you find the peace and joy in the Smokies that I have.

Christopher Hibbard - President of Your Smokies

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