2017  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Lake McIntosh @ Line Creek Nature Area, Peachtree City, GA

 

   
 
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   PHOTOS FROM A RARE & FLEETING
WINTER WONDERLAND IN PEACHTREE CITY, GA

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9

 
"Have snow blower, will travel."  
~ Sue's brother, who lives almost on the Michigan line in Ohio
 
 
Very funny, Bill. You'll get yours before long! (Snow, that is.)

He got the last laugh this weekend because the Atlanta area has had more snow so far this winter in one storm than Chicago, New York City, or Toledo have gotten.

Bill knows Jim is a snow-phobe after living most of his life in Illinois and Montana. Since we retired almost fourteen years ago, we've deliberately tried to escape the worst winter weather by traveling in our RV to warm locales in southern California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and Florida.


Jim and Cody run at McDowell Mtn. Regional Park near Phoenix, AZ
on a warm winter's day in January almost nine years ago (1-8-08).
Jim has on a shirt to protect himself from the sun, not cold.

This year we're spending all winter at our new home in Peachtree City, Georgia, a little southwest of Atlanta. The RV is in storage at Fort Benning and will remain unused this season as we try to determine what a "typical" winter is like here.

However, I know from living an hour northeast of here in Gwinnett County for 25 years that this weekend is not typical Atlanta winter weather.

*Snow* happens here, but not very often and not this much.


Palm tree (!) with snow


This isn't exactly what Jim signed up for when we moved to the Atlanta area . . .

One of the reasons we chose to move to the southern Atlanta metro area instead of one of the higher elevation northern tier counties -- or worse, back in the Roanoke, VA, area -- was our hope that we'd get no snow, or at least less of it, in Peachtree City.

We definitely fared better in Peachtree City during this storm, officially named Winter Storm Benji, accumulating only about three inches of snow in our neighborhood vs. eight inches to ten inches in the west and north metro suburbs and at least a foot in the north Georgia mountain communities.

The next two photos from north Georgia are ones I borrowed from the wsbtv.com website since we weren't up there this weekend to see how pretty it was. All the others in this entry are mine.


Photo by Jodi F. Thomas, Blairsville, GA looks like a Christmas card.


I cropped part of the left side of this picture so it would show better here;
it was taken by an unknown photographer in N. GA.

In this unusual nationwide storm, even northern Mexico -- the country of Mexico, not the state of New Mexico -- and southern Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama all got some measurable snow.

A cold front from the NW collided with rain from the SE in a long diagonal line from Corpus Christi, TX to northern Maine, dumping heavy, wet snow in some southern locales that haven't seen any snow in decades. I even saw videos of traffic at a standstill on a snowy freeway in northern Mexico.

Here's a NOAA map of the weather forecast for Friday:

Snow fell in more areas of the Deep South on Friday and Saturday than that map shows, and some of those places needed Bill's snow blower more than we did.

Peachtree City got just enough snow on Friday and Saturday to totally cover the ground, bare tree and shrubbery branches, pine needles, and remaining leaves, resulting in beautiful scenery without the mess of very many downed tree limbs, power outages, or icy roads like the areas of metro Atlanta to the west and north of us.

Snowy woods and interesting scallops (above)
and rails (below) on fences along the cart paths in Peachtree City.

The perfect snow = magical winter scenery without shoveling or traffic jams!

Local kids had a blast building snowmen in their yards, having snowball fights, and sledding down all the hills in town. Even those of us who are no longer kids got in on the fun.


The kids in our neighborhood don't get to build real snowmen very often.

Our dogs -- and other real dogs (probably not the pocket pooches) -- loved racing around in the snow, noses to the ground, aware of enticing things beneath the snow that mere humans couldn't detect.


Cody in foreground, Casey and Holly behind the shrub, all sniffing stuff under the snow.


Casey (L) and Holly seem to be saying, "C'mon out and play with us!" That's a flexible
15-foot agility tunnel in the yard; they love to chase each other or a ball through it.

This was six-month-old Holly-pup's first encounter with snow so her obvious delight was fun for us to watch.

Casey (5 years old) and Cody (almost 15) have seen snow before but it has been so seldom, and long enough ago, that they were surprised to go outside and see it in our back yard.

On our first walk Friday morning when big fat flakes were falling thickly, Casey tried to catch as many as she could in her mouth before they hit the ground. The more we laughed with her, the more she tried to catch.

Holly champed at the bit, wanting to run, run, run through the snowy grass by the Kedron Ponds:


Jim and Casey walk ahead of us on Saturday morning while I try to restrain Holly long
enough to take this picture. The snow was deeper on this walk and she wanted to play in it.

SUE'S PERSPECTIVE:  *SNOW* IS NOT A 4-LETTER WORD

I like snow a lot more than Jim does because I haven't had to deal with as much of it as he has.

Yes, I've shoveled my fair share and have gotten into some snow jams, even in the Atlanta area when I had a lengthy commute to work, but I still revel in seeing it and walking through it. I've really enjoyed the times we've seen snow at higher elevations in Colorado when RVing there various summers.


Near Windsor Lake above Leadville, CO in the summer of 2016

During 30+ years of running trails, some of my best memories were being out in the woods while snow was coming down in fat, wet flakes, or padding silently through the soft snow after at least a couple inches had fallen.

Everything was so peaceful and quiet with a blanket of snow on the ground.

Even more magical was snow or ice clinging to tree branches, especially when the sun was out and I was floating through a crystal forest. I remember only a few times I've been lucky enough to see that.

Above and below:  More oldies -- photos from our VA property in Jan., 2005 after an ice storm.

The best snowfall I remember when living in metro Atlanta fell on Saturday, March 13, 1993 (3-13-93), a number seared in my memory because of the amount of snow that fell and the ultra-distance trail race I was supposed to run that day up in the mountains.

If you do an internet search for this snow event you'll see that it was called the "Snowstorm of the Century" for Atlanta and N. Georgia.

Although only a few inches of snow were officially recorded at Hartsfield Atlanta Airport, we ended up with a foot of snow in Gwinnett County, where I was living at the time. Gwinnett isn't even considered as one of the northern metro counties; it's more east.


This morning in Peachtree City -- no comparison with 1993, but pretty nonetheless

As much as three feet of snow fell in the north Georgia mountains where I was headed that morning to run Rich Schick's inaugural North Georgia Adventure Run, a 54-mile trail loop through the Cohutta Wilderness.

Only a few few of us with 4WD vehicles, including ultra runner extraordinaire David Horton from Lynchburg, VA, made it to the start. Not all the snow had fallen yet but the dire prediction of several feet of the white stuff convinced Rich to postpone the race for two or three weeks.

I made it back home OK and waited a week for the mountain roads to be cleared before going back up to see the results of that storm. I wasn't able to run through all the remaining deep snow in shady spots but I remember how drop-dead gorgeous all that snow was. Some ice remained on tree branches where I hiked, giving that magnificent "crystal forest" effect as the sun shown through it.

[If I find time to rummage through my old photos, I'll see if I can find any to scan from that storm and post here later.]

FRENZY BEFORE THE STORM

Metro Atlanta has had a few sporadic "Snowmageddon" events since then, but nothing like the storm of March, 1993.


Scene this morning along the cart path near our house

It has always amused me, since coming here from Ohio in 1974, to see the scramble folks make to load up on milk, bread, batteries, snow shovels, and other supplies whenever a little bit of snow or ice is predicted in the metro Atlanta area.

I admit I shopped a day early last week to make sure we had adequate food for several days, too. With all the trees around Peachtree City -- see, it's even named for a tree! -- it doesn't take much for the power to go out.


I think these are peach trees at the entrance to our subdivision;
they were done blooming by the time we moved here in the spring.

Sometimes that pre-storm frenzy is warranted, sometimes not, when a predicted storm peters out before arriving here.

This time -- not the first time it's happened here -- more snow fell than any of the weather prognosticators predicted. Schools and businesses in the northern metro area that perhaps should have been closed all day Friday let people out earlier than usual in the afternoon, causing traffic jams before the normal rush hour. Snow accumulated quickly on some busy roadways despite GDOT's preemptive efforts to prevent any icing.


Cart path left, Kedron Dr. right

Thousands of homes were without electricity for a couple of days or more. Many areas north and west of us also had to deal with downed trees and large limbs blocking roads (or crashing down on houses) and black ice on pavement after a couple nights of below-freezing weather.

I was surprised to hear on Monday morning (Dec. 11) that Fulton County schools were closed because of remaining snow and ice issues. That's in the heart of metro Atlanta! Other adjacent county school districts to the west and north --Cobb, Cherokee, Douglas -- were also closed. They simply  got more snow-related problems than GDOT and the power companies could handle over the weekend.


These leaves haven't even all turned red yet, let alone dropped off this early.
That was one of the problems with trees in areas that got more snow than we did.

Fortunately, we didn't have much trouble with any of those issues in Peachtree City.

I took this entry's pictures with snow in them on Friday and Saturday (mostly Saturday, when it was prettier). Some are from our yard; most are from the cart paths I hiked those two days.

It got warm enough (40 F.) Saturday afternoon to melt most of the snow in Peachtree City. Snow stuck on our streets and driveways for only a little while on Friday, when the snow first began falling, then soon melted. Some snow remained on ground covered in grass, leaves, or mulch, and more fell during the night.

When we got up Saturday morning there was more snow on the grass, mulch, and trees but none on paved surfaces -- or golf greens:


One of the Kedron Golf Club greens

How the heck does that happen?? I'm pretty sure there aren't heating coils under the greens!

That's the perfect kind of snow -- sticking to the grass and bare tree branches, but not to driveways or streets.


No, this isn't a street intersection but one on the cart path system.


Our street and driveway were clear on Saturday morning.

We saw a lot of people out on the cart paths enjoying the pretty scenery on Saturday morning before most of the snow melted.

Everybody was in a good mood, commenting on how pretty it was.

Three inches of snow may be de rigueur for much of the United States, but it is an anomaly for Peachtree City. So you folks we know in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Montana, Colorado, Maine, and other points to the far north, stop snickering at our fascination with a mere three inches of snow!


Some of the colorful fall leaves haven't fallen yet.

Even though it was only in the mid-30s F. this morning, Jim rode his bike over hill and dale for 15 miles and I walked Casey five miles.

The wind was calm and as soon as it stopped snowing, the sun came out, making the fluffy white snow glisten before it started falling, then dripping, down from the trees. It was mostly gone far too fast for me.


The paths were even prettier on Saturday when the snow stopped falling and the sun came out.

That was my favorite walk on the cart paths in Peachtree City since we moved here at the end of March!

This is getting pretty long, so I'll continue on the next page with more pictures from our yard showing what was still blooming when the snow came and how things looked afterwards.

Continued on the next pagesnow photos from our yard

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, Casey, and Holly-pup

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2017 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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