Weather Changes Quickly at Higher Elevations

Friday we decided to take another drive on the parkway. After the rain we knew the colors must have changed dramatically and with the wind, we knew the leaves would be falling rapidly.

We packed a lunch and decided to eat at the Craggy Garden picnic area. It rises above the parkway and has lots of picnic tables spread out at safe distances. The colors were magnificent. Blazes of oranges, golds and reds adorned the trees.

The elevation at the picnic area is approximately 5,600 ft. We could see clouds rolling in at a distance. As we turned to drive into the picnic area, we could actually see the fog push across the truck. Visibility was very low by the time we reached the parking lot. The temperature dropped to 49°F (9.4° C). The wind was cold so we ended up eating in the truck.

After we ate, we drove up to the visitors center. It was completely socked in. We were feeling sorry for bicyclists wondering how they would finish their descent safely. There are normally long range views, but as you can see from the video, there were no long range views to be seen. It was cold and windy!

We realized it would be futile and precarious to continue up toward Mt. Mitchell, so we headed back home. The wind shifted direction and suddenly things started to clear. We drove back into the picnic area and the difference in the weather in only 15 minutes was unbelievable.

Below the fog, the colors were truly amazing. Well worth the trip!


20 thoughts on “Weather Changes Quickly at Higher Elevations”

  1. The weather is always so variable at Craggy Gardens! Glad it cleared up for you and that you were rewarded with views of good fall color. I’m heading up towards Elk Mountain on Tuesday, so will see some of that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nature was definitely showing her splendor, Lisa. We noticed a lot of bare trees, too, so it will not be long – especially at the windier locations.


    1. Fog is not unusual here, especially in the low lying gorges and the mountains. Makes for an unworldly but beautiful scene. Quite dramatic in its speed, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was stuck in Oregon one weekend, so I drove to Crater Lake. Temperature at ground level was about 80; by the time I got to the lake it was about 30. For most of the drive, I was between 2 15-foot walls of snow. Never forget that…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That must have been quite a sight to see – if you could see anything above the 15’ snow berms. Micro-climates are so interesting.


  3. I worked with a man who lost his wife when the weather suddenly changed in the foothills of the Cascades where they had gone with their infant for a day hike. Snowed in, she sacrificed her life to feed and warm the baby before they were rescued.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gorgeous colors! I love to look down on fog or clouds or see them in the distance moving over or around Grandfather Mountain. Being within the fog is a different matter entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

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