The picture above is taken from the bridge over the South Fork of the New River, looking back towards Camp Elk Shoals.

Being located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Camp experienced some record-shattering winter weather this year.  Twenty-two inches of snow fell on December 18th, and one month later, a LOT of it was still on the ground (because of several other much smaller snow "storms," and because the temperature very rarely got above 32 degrees).  In fact, the temperature stayed in single digits right many nights....which caused the river to freeze over. 

During the time period from December 18th through January 18th: for weeks at a time, the high temperature for each day was in the low 20's, and the lows were in single digits!  Twently-two inches of snow fell on Friday, December 18th.  On the following early Friday (Christmas) morning, there was an ice storm in this area that left about 3/4 of an inch of ice on EVERYTHING (which caused a LOT of trees and tree limbs to fall....many across the roads and power lines in the area).  

When coming into to the Camp (after crossing the bridge):  there is a metal gate just beyond the "beach area" (which is actually a large flat sandy river bank).  The picture below on the left is of the "beach area" during the summer, and the picture below on the right is taken from the "beach area" (looking up-stream) when the river first froze over (during the last week in December).

Then, a couple of weeks later, the picture below on the left is of the build-up of the ice at the "beach area" (not only on the river, but also on the beach itself).  And then the most amazing picture:  the picture below on the right (taken on January 20th) is of the ice left on the "beach" as the weather warmed up (which allowed some of the ice in the river to thaw...which meant it broke into large "icebergs"....which were pushed up onto the "beach" due the force of the flow of the water in the river and the force that had on the icebergs upstream (which were being "trapped" in the river by the low water bridge leading to the Camp)....which was so great they were pushed up out of the river and onto the land on the banks of the river).

The bridge going across the river and the road leading up to the gate just beyond the "beach area" are owned by the State of NC, and are thus maintained by the State.  However, once past the gate, the Camp owns (and thus, has to maintain) all the roads on its campus (be they paved or gravel). The picture below on the left shows how much ice was pushed up onto the bridge leading to the Camp.  The picture below on the right (....both of these pictures below being taken on January 20th) shows the amount of ice found on the road that goes by the "beach area" leading to the "Chapel on the New."

Concerning the Camp owned (and maintained) roads on-campus:  as can be easily seen in the picture above on the right, on January 20th there were so many icebergs pushed up onto the road (next to the "beach area") that one could not even walk to the "Chapel on the New" from the "beach area."   And since the road leading uphill from The Village area to the Stafford Lodge has trees on both sides of it (with branches hanging over the road):  the sun never shines on this road.  Hence, due to the snow...and ice...on that road: no one was able to drive up to the Stafford Lodge or Mission Inn until February 18th.  Luckily, it was found that no damage or power loss was experkienced at either the new cabin in The Village, or to the Stafford Lodge, or to the Mission Inn, or to any of the Adirondak units.

The picture below on the left is of Camp Director Pete Parish next to a tree that fell, taken on January 20th, on the road that leads up to the Stafford Lodge.  The picture on the right is of the Stafford Lodge....taken on the same day...some 33 days after the initial 22-inch snow storm!

On Saturday, January 23rd, the temperature finally warmed up to over 50 degrees.  On Sunday (the 24th), it remained warm....which brought about about 3 inches of rain that night.  The pictures below were taken the next day....and are of the bridge going to Elk Shoals (and as can be seen in those pictures:  as opposed to being over the New River, the heighth of the water was so high (due to all the ice melting...and that water going into the river) that the bridge was now in the New River.

This picture is taken looking down-river.  The river is so high that you can only see the down-river side of the bridge. 

This picture is taken from the up-river side of the bridge.  All the tree limbs and trash shown were swept up next to the up-river side of the bridge (due to the force of the water in the river).

And if you think that our wintry weather was over for the year:  on noon on Friday, February 5th, the Camp received another 14 1/2 inches of new snow....and then got about an inch of sleet and freezing rain that night, and then another 4 to 6 inches of snow the next day! 

 

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