On January 13, we drove up to Newfound Gap in the Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park and parked at the Clingman's Dome Road gate. They close that 7.5 mile stretch of winding, two lane road from Dec.1 to March 31 each year due to ice and snow. We hiked 2.7 miles up the closed road to reach the Spruce Fir Nature Trail, a 0.4 mile easy loop - but one of our favorite little spots. At an elevation of about 5600 ft, it has a magical forest feel about it (and sometimes the wonderful scent of Christmas trees) and we've walked it quite a few times.
Anyway, that day it began snowing pretty hard while we were on the trail and we started to hightail it back to the Jeep before they closed Newfound Gap Road and trapped us on the North Carolina side of the mountains. I realized after we'd walked about 3/4 mile back that I had dropped my right glove. Crud! Not too far to go back, but definitely snowing too hard and racing against road closing time - no can do! We made it back in time, and were the last ones driving down the mountain.
The glove is nothing spectacular, just part of a very comfortable winter pair that has put in a lot of cold, snowy mountain time with me and I've grown rather attached to them.
Yesterday, the weather was warm and we decided to head back up there and see if we could track down the glove, a mini Mission: Impossible. We figured it was probably warm enough to have melted all of last week's substantial snow accumulation. As we started walking at the gate of Clingman's Dome Road, there was no snow on the pavement. But after nearly 1/2 mile, we encountered up to several inches still in some places, though it was working on melting down with the sun breaking through the clouds as we walked. There'd been some foot traffic and skiers previously and their tracks had become icy and made walking more difficult than anticipated, not to mention we hadn't worn our snow boots! I managed to keep my feet dry, but the other one got his damp and minor whining ensued.
We kept our eyes peeled, doubtfully, the whole way for my glove, and by the time we got to the trailhead we figured chances were pretty slim that it would be in one of the few snow-free places. But I found it! Within the last 200 feet of the loop and sitting right in the middle of the trail with just a little bit of snow around it. Happy dance!
I love that my glove spent 26 days undisturbed up in the mountains. Wish I could do that :-)