Crystal Forest

After our recent snow here in East Tennessee, I decided on the day after Christmas to drive around to check out the snow and ice that had survived overnight. I had low expectations. After all, snow doesn’t last long here. However, I quickly learned that most of the snow still looked like it had just fallen. I hadn’t planned on it, but before I knew it, I was headed to the Smokies. As expected, Foothills Parkway was closed. Also, Little River Road and Cades Cove were closed. No surprises there either. However, I was kind of shocked to find that Tremont Road was closed. Major bummer. Essentially, there was no access to the park from the Townsend side of the Smokies.

No access, that is, unless you wanted to walk. So, I parked my 4Runner, strapped on my backpack, and headed up Tremont Road on foot. I only encountered three people over the next 5 hours. It was paradise. The snow still looked fresh. It was amazing. Very little of it had fallen from the trees since it covered them 24 hours earlier. The temperature was 10 degrees F and there was no wind. I was walking in a Crystal Forest. I as a photographer in a candy store. It was magic.

I immediately knew my images wouldn’t convey the beauty of the ice and the snow and trees and water along Tremont Road. Of course, I often feel that way, but in this case, I really knew it was true. The stream was high, the sun was low, the snow was deep, and the flowing water was perfectly clear. I quickly adopted a “spray and pray” approach. Yep, I threw all intention and thoughtfulness out the window and shot as many images as possible. I ignored all advice I’d ever given about “getting it right in the field.” I just shot like a madman. The best thing was always right in front of me. See it, shoot it. I was filled with giddiness!

I’ve processed a handful of images from my glorious day in the Crystal Forest. I hope you like them. More importantly, I hope there is a Crystal Forest out the somewhere waiting on you!


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