Sunset on The Roan – 2-27-2015

As a last minute plan was developed at 4 pm on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, to pick up John Forbes at his house to join Michael Taylor, Colby Williams, and myself for a quick spur of the moment trip to Round Bald on Roan Mountain, we hastily drove as fast as we could to get this accomplished. We had heard through the hiker trash grapevine that the legendary Roan Mountain man Larry Jarret himself would be there so, we made haste to get there before the sun set. Luckily we had enough time to spare to get parked and make the trek up to the summit of the bald and get setup before the show began. We were lucky in the fact that the clouds had broken off the mountain and were setting up nicely for what we hoped would be a spectacular sunset.

sunset

Sunset from Round Bald (Roan Mountain)

The snow along the road was higher than the guardrails and there was lots of frozen ice as it is extremely cold on the Roan during Winter. We trudged through the deep snow following many other tracks that had been there before us trying to avoid the deepest part of it. Within the first 100 yards I was already regretting not wearing my insulated Muck Boots as my leather hiking boots which are not suited for extreme cold weather were already making my feet feel like blocks of ice. I would just have to suffer it out if I was continue.

view

View looking SW as we begin our ascent of Round Bald

Once we entered into the pine forest, the snow was not as deep and it was easier walking. It was also much easier on the eyes with the bright sun being blocked out creating an indescribable beauty. As we emerged back onto the bald for our ascent of the summit, it was deep again and I was happy to have previous tracks to follow. The views were already stunning to say the least.

pines

Walking through the dense pine forest

pines

In the pines in the pines where the sun never shines and I shiver when the cold winds blow

pines

Intimate lighting found deep within the pine forest

view

Southward view as I emerge from the pine forest

view

My view as I climb higher and higher up the bald

view

SW view

snow

Frozen trees and deep snow drifts on the side of the bald

view

View looking NW into Tennessee

bald

Halfway to the summit of Round Bald

view

Starting to see Grassy Ridge as I get closer to the summit

summit

Getting a visual on the summit with Grassy Ridge behind it

view

As I reach the summit I truly feel like I am on top of the world

sign

Obligatory sign

view

Looking West towards Roan High Knob

As I made it to the summit it looked as if I had stepped onto another planet and the 360 degree views were breathtaking. As I proceeded to the other side of  Round Bald in search of Larry, I found him way down on the Tennessee side watching a huge wall of clouds rising out of the valley. These clouds were starting to form multiple colors and Larry began to explain this was almost the perfect conditions for the ‘Brocken Spectre’ which he had been fortunate enough to experience earlier in the year when he captured an amazing picture of himself as an angelic ghost-like figure within the clouds. For details on this all you need to do is Google it ! Unfortunately right about the time it seemed like we were going to get to see this magnificent phenomena, the winds picked up at about 5 to 10 mph in the wrong direction and blew the rising cloud bank away from us and down in to the valley and over towards the Little and Big Hump Mountains. We came extremely close but, alas it was not to be.

effect

My first view of Larry and colored cloud bank

close

So close to getting it yet so far away

larry

Larry Jarret with the colorful clouds behind him as they are being blown away from the summit

What was ‘to be’ was spectacular conditions on the Roan for this time of year. Normally it is so cold that it is almost unbearable and the clouds are usually so thick that there are no views to be had. On this trip it would be cold as we recorded a base temperature of 7 degrees F at sunset which did not include the 5 to 10 mph steady wind chill factor. Any exposed skin did have a burning sensation and would need covering. We met our friend Derrick Hamrick up there who had been on the Roan all day and I could not understand how he could stand not wearing gloves as he operated his camera. I could not stand to go without mine for more than a few minutes.

derrick

My friend Derrick Hamrick

derrick

My friend Derrick hands red from exposure !

summit

All of our group hanging out on the summit waiting on sunset

view

Hanging out at the top of the world

view

Looking S to SE towards Rock Creek ,Hawk and Yellow Mountains

view

Sun setting over Roan High Knob

photographers

(left to right) Colby Williams, Larry Jarret, and Michael Taylor all waiting on the light to be just right

ice

Rime ice on Round Bald

john

My friend John Forbes

john

My friend John Forbes

We all spent a considerable amount of time there taking pictures from every possible angle waiting on the perfect timing of the sunset and eventually it happened and we were all fairly successful in getting some really good shots. Of course some of the others are real photographers with real cameras whereas I am not so here are the images I was able to capture with my small pocket camera (no tri-pod) and my slightly larger non-slr point and shoot on a tri-pod before it became completely dark.

sunset

Sun setting on Big Hump Mountain

view

Sun setting on Big Hump and Grassy Ridge. I can only imagine what the view would be like from either of those locations

humps

View of Big Hump and Little Hump Mountains

view

Little Hump and Big Hump Mountains

humps

Zoomed and my best pic of the Hump Mountains

sunset

Sunset on Big and Little Hump Mountains

view

Looking South into NC

view

SW towards NC

view

Looking SW towards the Black and Craggy Mountains

view

Sunset looking towards Tennessee

view

View looking N / NW as the sunsets from the top of the world

view

It was hard to decide which direction to shoot and when. As the sun sets you have very little time before it`s gone ! This is looking NW into Tennessee

view

Looking NW into Tennessee as the sun quickly sets

view

Michael getting the shot

view

Looking into Tennessee

view

Starting to get that postcard look on the TN side

view

I love the pastel colors on this shot of the TN side

michael

Michael Taylor with some beautiful colors behind him

view

Trying some special effects but limited by my inferior camera

view

View towards SW

view

SW view into NC

sunset

Sunset behind Roan High Knob

view

The last shot I took on the way out of the city light in the valley below (TN side)

By the time it was dark we were all chilled to the bone but, oddly enough my feet were not cold anymore so, we broke out the headlamps and made the trek off the bald back down to the vehicle. Michael and Colby went down first so the rest of us had the pleasure of listening to some good rock and roll from the FJammer radio on the way down and a warm vehicle to climb into once we got there. I ended up riding back with Derrick since he also lives in Johnson City saving Michael some unnecessary mileage and we all stopped at the Lone Star Steakhouse in Elizabethton for the post hike grub out. It had been an incredible day on an awesome mountain with some of my closest and coolest friends and for that I was thankful. I can not wait until the next adventure. Until then,,,,,

steak

My sweet potato and medium rare ribeye post hike grub

grub

Post hike grub out

Posted on 6 March '15 by , under RATtreks.

You must be logged in to post a comment.