This winter has been an unusual winter. We have already had two snows which resulted in schools and businesses being closed. Driving on snow covered roads is not something we in the south are accustomed to doing. We also do not have the equipment to clear the roads like our friends up north have. By southern standards, our 2-3 inches of snow was a lot! The anticipation of predicted snow sends many people running to the grocery store to get milk and bread but who can ever walk out of a grocery store with just milk and bread? Certainly not I.
In South Carolina, it is not uncommon to have to bundle up one day to stay warm and then pull out the shorts and flip flops a day or so later because the temperature has gone from freezing to the 60s. That happened this week.
Tuesday morning we awakened to the eerie silence and beauty of a winter wonderland. The ground was covered and the snow was still falling. Beautiful snowflakes. A dry, powdery snow that was a skier’s dream and perfect for making snow cream. If you have never made or tasted snow cream, you must. It is a southern delicacy in the winter. Every southern woman knows the importance of keeping evaporated milk in the pantry during the winter months. You can’t make good snow cream without evaporated milk!
By Thursday, most of the snow had melted and by Saturday, it was warm enough to wear shorts and flip flops. Playing in the snow one day and walking around in summer clothes a few days later…Mother Nature keeps us on our toes for sure.
We rode to the mountains this afternoon, only a 45 minute drive, to see if there was still any snow on the ground. It was 61 degrees at home but we knew it would be much cooler in the mountains, The closer we got to the mountains, the more diverse the scenery was. We saw acres of pastureland seemingly untouched by the recent snow. A couple of miles further up the road and we would see random icicles on the sides of the road, hanging from rocks or bushes; some were shimmering in the sunlight as they begin to melt while others were solid with no evidence that they would soon be transformed into a slow, steady drip of water.
On the outskirts of Highlands we began to see mounds of snow that the snowplows had piled up. The pretty white snow that had fallen just a few days ago was now dirty. No one wanted to see dirty snow but there it was, piles of it. Forget any pictures of snow today but we had other ideas for photo opportunities.
Within a 10 mile radius of Highlands there are several waterfalls and no matter the weather, pictures of waterfalls are always pretty. One of our favorite waterfalls is Bridal Veil Falls. Literally on the side of the road, at one time you could drive under the waterfall but that is no longer allowed. Now you must park your car and walk to and behind the waterfall. Standing behind the waterfall is quite an experience. The sunlight bouncing off of the water that is cascading down creates a beautiful scene. Dancing water, sparkling water, a waterfall symphony…get the picture?
Today there was very little waterfall. Today there were icicles of all shapes and sizes. Some were perfect, delicate ice sculptures and others looked like huge daggers that could be used in battle. As we looked at what was once a waterfall, it was interesting to see how different each portion looked due to the amount of sun that shone in that direction. Delicate beside dangerous, sharp beside blunt…it was all there.
The other waterfalls that we visited were not accessible. The entrances had been closed by the park service for safety reasons. Disappointment but a hike to these waterfalls was necessary and the ice along the paths created a risky situation. Falling into freezing water was not on my agenda today or tomorrow for that matter.
With the sun beginning to go down, we headed back home after we made our obligatory stop at the general store to get a small coke and a bag of peanuts. If you have never put peanuts into your bottle of coke, well you haven’t lived. Like the snow cream, coke and peanuts is a southern tradition. Try it one day. I bet you will like it.