Chimney Tops Winter Hike | GSMNP

The weather was spectacular this weekend.  We were blessed a fair amount of sun and temperatures that neared 60 degrees.  There was some wind, but it seems like complaining about a bit of wind on a 60 degree day at the end of January is a little obnoxious.  I feel spoiled when we have weather like this, but I do understand that it has more to do with our latitude than me being special.

We fled to the mountains.  The roads were clear and there were no unexpected winter road closures in the park.  We decided to try the Chimney Tops hike.  It’s really only 4 miles or so, with a 1400 foot gain in elevation.  But the trail was mostly covered with packed snow and patches of ice, which proved to be a bit difficult on some of the steeper parts of the path.  I was actually thinking I could have used some trekking poles (though typically I tend to think I might feel silly with them).  There were a number of people who seemed much less prepared for hiking than us though–the young college boys wearing low-top Chuck Taylors, for example.  Not sure how far they could have made it.  Unfortunately, the rocks at the summit were a bit icy, and we weren’t brave enough to scramble to the very top.  Not too far before the summit, we had to grab onto cables (inserted into the rock wall by the ledge) on a hike for the first time (Pic of Jordan using them below).  Made me feel adventurous, although it’s not exactly Half Dome in Yosemite or anything.  I really enjoyed seeing the winter scenery, but our photography skills weren’t able to capture the beauty quite as we had hoped.  Still, I hope you don’t mind that I post a few of them.