Bays Mountain First Hike Of The Year

Bays Mountain First Hike Of The Year

Published by: David Cate
January 14, 2022

The first snowfall of 2022 wasn't as advertised. Any mention of snow here in East Tennessee ignites a furry or grocery store activity and anticipation. Unfortunately, Kingsport was one of those spots spared by heavy snow. We only got maybe an inch, but the temperatures plummeted to the teens.

After the storm cleared, the skies turned blue, and I thought I'd get the drone out and capture some footage on the mountain. Fortunately, there wasn't much snow on the roads. As I drove up the mountain, the trees were smothered in a layer of fresh snow. Looking like a white tunnel, it made my trip all the more mesmerizing up the mountain.

First mistake. Gloves.

When I got out of the car, the wind was strong on Bays Mountain. My apparel was still in 50-degree mode, too—a light jacket and jeans. As I fumbled for my camera bags, my fingers were already seizing up to the cold morning freeze.

Nevertheless, I made my way across the Bays Mountain dam breaking the first footprints in the snow along the way. It's those times when you're creaking through the frozen snow you realize that silence is often a good snowfalls way to express itself, and the peace is nice.

Walking along the banks of the lake, what little sounds that were barely alive this morning were the barks of tree squirrels and agitated chickens that seem to be a little too sprite for this kind of weather.

The beavers had been busy too. There were lots of trees ready to fall on the banks of the lake, and their teeth work was intriguing enough for a few photos.

On the way back, I had to keep my hands in my pocket. I imagine frostbite setting on my aloof journey through the woods. Fortunately, just having them away from the air seemed to buy a few more minutes, long enough to catch the morning roll call of the wolf pack at Bays Mountain.

I'd heard the wolves many times through the Summer, but nothing quite like this morning. It seemed everyone in the pack was celebrating the snowy silence, or it could have been a morning meal. Nevertheless, I think my presence this morning was a party pooper because when I got the fence - silence. The wolves just stared at me.