But one winter day I was hiking in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area with some companions. There had been recent cold and snowy weather and we wanted to experience some of it up on the rim of the gorge. Down in the valleys there was still snow on the ground, but it was melting. As we climbed up into the higher country, around 3,000 feet or so, it was still below freezing and the winter precipitation that had fallen the previous days had not melted. So we were greeted with classic winter scenery the higher we hiked.
One thing that had happened right at the end of the storm was that the snow had turned briefly to freezing rain and sleet. This meant that on the mountaintops we were hiking atop seven or eight inches of snow shielded by about an inch of frozen sleet. The trees were coated in this stuff, too. It was indeed beautiful to look at and fun to walk on, especially as I had come equipped with my Yaktrax to keep me from slipping.
Then, along a high ridge, the temperature and the sun suddenly combined to begin breaking up the ice. For several magic minutes the forest was full of the symphony of shattering ice. I’ve never heard or seen anything like it and I often wonder about the confluence of events and perfect timing that put me in that spot at that particular moment. It was especially nice as I had separated myself from my babbling companions so that the only thing speaking in this video is Mother Nature.