A note from the photographer

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A little bit of snow on the Roan

Sorry it has taken so long to get around to the first photo walk of 2015.  I have been busy finishing up some photo projects from 2014 and just finished the last one.  Yay!  Plus, I have been working hard on a new item for my Etsy shop - postcards!  Checkout the blog post here!

Last week I was once again disappointed by the lack of snow we received, so I went on the hunt for more snow.  Roan Mountain, here I come (or there I went).

It was cold, overcast, and still a bit snowy, but I found Roan Mountain and the Watauga Dam area to still be beautiful.  Though there was some icy conditions trying to get to Watauga Dam, but it wasn't too bad.


 I think I have a thing for paths...

I tried to go further up Roan Mountain to Carver's Gap, which sits roughly around 5,300 feet, but the snow was picking up and the temperature was dropping.  So, I turned around and headed for Watauga Dam.  Even though it was cloudy and still snowing, I thought it was beautiful around the dam.  I daresay, breathtaking.

The next day it was beautiful and sunny.  I grabbed my camera and headed out to get some more snowy shots.  I started out back at Watauga Dam.  To my surprise, the road up was a little more icy, but not impassable.  Some of the snow had melted, but it was still worth it.

I decided to give Carver's Gap another go.  Besides the little bit of snow that had fell the day before it had been two days since the snow fall.  I stopped at the Roan Mountain State Park visitor center to ask if they knew whether the road was clear up to Carver's Gap.  It's about 10 miles from the visitor center, but it is the same road.  The woman said she had not heard, but they do scrape and salt.  She said it should be fairly clear, except maybe in the shaded spots.  And away I went.  Up to about the 3 mile marker (from the top) it was mostly clear, with an occasional slushy or icy spot in the shaded areas, as predicted.  As I passed the last real spot to turn around the road conditions deteriorated rapidly.  Before I knew it I was in a couple inch deep mush that was a mix of snow, slush, and ice.  If you've never been to Carver's Gap let me paint a quick picture - continuous S curve road, mountain to the left, sheer drop off to the valley on the right, with a quick, steep climb in spots.  I began to panic and thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest.  Did I mention I don't have 4-wheel drive and my car is incredibly light?  Yeah, not the best snow mountain vehicle.  I approached the one and only large sized pull off, but it was to the right (the direction of the drop off) and was covered in snow.  I was too worried to attempt a turn around there.  Around the 1.5 mile point I began fishtailing and seriously losing traction.  I stopped in the road trying to decide my best course of action.  Bad idea.  My car refused to move forward after that.  I finally decided to pitch myself into the ditch on the left side of the road.  As I did so I just knew I was going to get stuck.  There's no cell service, so I would be stuck until someone came along and could help me, but it seemed better than the alternative.  I made it into the ditch and tried to reverse back on to the road.  My car did not reverse, but it did spin enough that I was facing down the road.  With a whole lot of prayer, a little bit of luck, and gravity, my car slid on to the road and I was able to ever so slowly creep back down the mountain.  My nerves were completely shot!  I know that it had to be beautiful on Carver's Gap and there were definitely some money shots up there, but it wasn't worth crashing off the side of the mountain!!!


  1. These photos are awesome. I prefer to stay on the path in the mountains. These make me want to go for a walk!