2016 Winter Trek travel blog

Barnacles on a rock

Jellyfish washed up on the beach

Starfish in a tidal pool on the jetty

Morris Island Lighthouse

Bethany Cemetery

Shrimp trawlers at Crosby Fish & Shrimp pier

Sunset over the salt marshes

Charleston Crabhouse at the drawbridge over Wappoo Creek

What I saw when I started driving up US 441 into GSMNP

Oconaluftee Creek at sunrise

Some violets along the creek side

Not sure what this white beauty was

Trillium wet from the rain

Small waterfall on Oconaluftee Creek

Bridge to equestrian campground at GSMNP

Another small waterfall along the Oconaluftee Creek

Came across a field full of wild turkeys on the way to...

This one put on a show

Mingo Creek

Mingo Creek Grist Mill

A view from the sluiceway to the mill

Snow covered Smokies

Snow line was about 4,000 ft elevation

Blue Ridge Parkway snow canopy

Snow covered rhododendrons in the foreground

Snow covered ridges of the Smokies

Snow line more defined on ridges

View from about 4,500 ft. elevation


It was an early morning start to try and catch sunrise at Clingmans Dome in Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The only problem is that somebody forgot to tell the weatherman it was spring. After an hour drive to the Oconaluftee Entrance at Cherokee, NC I ran into a barricade and signs saying US 441, the route to Newfound Gap and Clingmans dome was closed due snow and ice conditions. While I was waiting, 2 snow plows moved through the roadblock and a Park Ranger stopped and said they had 3 in. of snow at Newfound Gap, elevation about 6,500 ft and weren't sure when the road would be open. Since I was there and it was just getting light, I decided to make lemonade out of the lemons and shoot what was available. Streams, wild turkeys, and a grist mill. Since it didn't look like the road to Clingmans was going to open any time soon, I decided to have breakfast at Peters Pancakes in Cherokee. Ham, eggs, potatoes, and 2 dinner plate size pancakes filled me up for the ride home. Instead of returning the way I came, I took the Blue Ridge Parkway. The last section runs from Cherokee to the north. We drove a lot of the Parkway in 2010 on our Presidents, Patriots, and Caverns tour, but not much of it in NC. I'm glad I did because the snow from night before provided some spectacular scenery along the way. I finally made it back to Winnie by about noon. We were going to go into Asheville in the afternoon, but I laid down for a couple of minutes and didn't wake up until 3. No Asheville today and tomorrow looks like another winter day with high winds and temperatures in the 40's so we may just stay inside Winnie. I thought we left this winter weather behind in Delaware.

To warm things up I'm going to post some pictures of the last couple of days in Charleston. We went back to Folly Beach in the morning to shoot the Morris Island lighthouse and some beach scenes. In the evening we tried to shoot at Bethany Cemetery in Charleston, but it closed at 6PM which only left us a couple of minutes. We decided to go for a BBQ dinner at Melvin's BBQ and then for some sunset shots along the road to Folly Beach. All was not lost.

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