One of my favorite things about winter in the Appalachians is the juxtaposition of green against white.
Whether moss, lichen, rhododendron, or fern, there is something hopeful about green vegetation pushed up against a fresh white snow. It reminds me of the persistence of life, despite harsh conditions.
I also love winter in Appalachia for the ice. The fluidity of water is frozen in still form, in crystal sculptures that capture movement, that suspend the liquid nature of water in a solid form that we can walk around and marvel over and contemplate for hours without it moving.
Finally, I love winter in the Appalachians for the steaming shower after a January hike. The steaming shower that turns your skin pink, and the fuzzy sweatpants you put on afterwards, and the hot dinner you sit down to, famished after hiking, with your family and friends.
Sunday was a beautiful day for a hike at the Cascades in Blacksburg, Virginia: high in the upper 30s after a fresh snow the night before. The kids packed snow balls along the way, threw them into the creek, and watched the slush drift downstream, taking it’s time to melt in the frigid water. We try to hike the Cascades during every season to witness its changes. For other photo essays from the Cascades waterfall, please see Waiting for Winter and Cascades of Green in Winter.