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Mountain Living
The Pros and Cons to living in the mountains




We moved into our home in June, 1997. Having never lived on a mountain before, I was not accustomed to the kinds of weather that the mountains generate.


Our first surprise came early one morning in spring. We were still asleep in our bed, and were enjoying the wonderful respite from street noises. Unknown to us, a “little spring thunderstorm” was building over us. With a loud: “BOOM!!” – “CRACK!!” right over our house, we jumped straight out of bed. That thunder was so close; I had never heard such a loud sound! We both stood laughing and shaking at the surprise we had just had.


After that first experience, we wondered what more was in store. We found out.


Winds in the mountains are unlike anything I have ever experienced. Some people that have moved to the mountains find that they can not tolerate the winds, and sell their homes to move away from those winds.  To say that the trees move with the winds is an understatement.  The trees really do flex and sway from the bottom up to the tips. You would be amazed to see how far a tree can sway.  Surrounded by trees that are all over eighty feet tall, the movement of the winds through those trees will make you worry if you are witnessing the “end of the world”. 


It takes a long time to become accustomed to the high winds, with gusts of 60mph.  The fear does calm down over about a year or two. Sleeping through the loud sound of the high winds is another matter. Many a sleepless night has been spent listening to the winds roaring through the woods. You have to convince yourself that you should just ignore the wind. It will be gone eventually.


Summer winds with the thunderstorms are not nearly as scary as the winds that come with the winter storms. Every pore in the house seems to seep cold air from the winds.

Thermal-paned windows and heavy quilted window coverings are the only way to keep the cold wind from radiating into your dwelling. Even then, it’s a struggle to stay warm.


When it rains, it comes from every direction. Since the winds like to swirl around the house, the windows can never stay washed. The first rain after cleaning the windows and all of them are wet and spotted again. It’s a loosing battle that I have relinquished.

After the rain is finished, the fog likes to build. Many times we have looked out windows but could not see past our front porch due to the fog. Of course, at 4,200 feet elevation, fog can easily be a low cloud. You just never know for sure. The “Smoke” in the SmokeyMountains is the fog! Spring and Fall are the “foggy-est” of the seasons. The natural transition from warm Summer to Fall will often cause low fog to hang over the valleys every morning. That fog creates a beautiful puff of white around the mountain ridges and has inspired many creative thoughts. 






One thing you can count on at 4,200 feet in the winter is that you will see snow at some point. Whether it’s a lot or a little, you will see snow. Some years we have had just few inches (like 10 inches), and other years we have had as much as 30 inches in one snowfall. The snowfall is beautiful, treacherous, and inspiring. Unless you make plans far in advance of the snowfall, you will be repeatedly inconvenienced by the snow storms.

If you have a steep gravel driveway, as we do, you will be snowed in several times a season. You can plow gravel, but you lose gravel with each push of the plow blade. You can try to salt, but you will find that the salt creates a soft slushy driveway in spring. The soft driveway is just as treacherous to drive on as ice!

If you can afford it, the best driveway is an asphalt driveway. You can plow asphalt. You can salt asphalt. Most of us have gravel driveways. Some of us have long, steep, gravel driveways. But before I leave the subject of weather, here are some pictures of the views from our home:




















Spring Sunset







Rhyme ice on Crabtree Bald Jan 31 2010.jpg


Rhyme Ice on the trees



Christmas Morning 2010.jpg


A first-of-the-season snowfall








Fall color










Fall Color up close

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