March’s Lion

This weekend we once again attended the 2014 Banff Mountain Film Festival (see my previous article about our trip to the 2011 Banff Mountain Festival here and about the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival trip here).  The films were, as usual, superb, with a mix of  adreneline-inducing flicks and more circumspect movies about the outdoors.

View of Pond Mountain from Route 91 Between Mountain City and Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, March 30, 2014
View of Pond Mountain from Route 91 Between Mountain City and Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, March 30, 2014 coming back from the Banff Film Festival

Some of my favorite films from the two nights were:

  • Flow:  The Elements of Freeride, a short film by a geophysicist who documented his down hill bike ride with diagrams and names of plants and animals;
  • The Last Great Climb, a hard core expedition to an unclimbed peak in Antarctica;
  • The Questions We Ask, an introspective about adventure and paddleboarding; and
  • North of the Sun, a movie about two young Norwegians who live on a desolated beach north of the Arctic Circle through the sunless winter to surf and snowboard, cleaning up trash and flotsam that washes up on the beach.  This film was the overall grand prize winner at the 2014 festival in Banff, Canada.

Last night, after the films, we had a very small taste of extreme conditions as we made a short but harrowing trip up to Blowing Rock in 40 mph winds and blizzard-like blowing snow.  This morning, it was reported that there were 50-60 mph wind gusts in Boone and Blowing Rock, and up to 97 mph (that’s not a typo) on Grandfather Mountain, where we were planning to hike.  Needless to say, the hiking trip we planned was cancelled.  When the storm moved out, blue skies shined over the snow-blanketed mountains.

Here is what it was like in the morning, note the lamp posts that are bent in the wind:

As we left this morning, a 20 foot pine tree had been blown over in the parking lot.  Not exactly the 60 degrees forecasted earlier this week.  March went out with a roar, but we nonetheless enjoyed a nice weekend of adventure film watching.

 

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Emerald Pool

This weekend we went for a walk down the VCT near Alvarado.  The melted snow run off from the mountains colored the South Fork of the Holston, making the deeper pools bluish green.  The water was just a bit high.  The section of river from Damascus to Alvarado was likely about the right level for kayaking.

One of many emerald pools on the South Fork of the Holston River, Washington County, Virginia, March 1, 2014
One of many emerald pools on the South Fork of the Holston River, Washington County, Virginia, March 1, 2014