Sunday, October 5, 2014

Autumn Color 2014 - High Knob Massif


October 5, 2014
Northern Exposed Slopes
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Autumn Color At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.



A windy & cold early October weekend graced 
the high country of the High Knob Massif where autumn color changes are more pronounced amid high valleys & drainages than on ridge tops ( * ).

*As cold air forms and drains downward from high crestlines such a pattern is common each autumn but may be exaggerated this year as wind driven rains strip more leaves from trees at highest elevations where numerous trees are already bare ( pushing hopes for a more widespread peak into middle & lower elevations to make a complete color climax, from top down, more unlikely than usual this year ). 

October 5, 2014
Water Elevation 3318 feet
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Autumn Color At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

With the first orographic forcing event of the upcoming cold season looming, by late October 6-7, this is not good news for current color as heavy rain and wind gusts ( could top 50 miles per hour at the summit level ) strip more leaves along crestlines and threaten to dull bright colors which are currently on display amid high basins.

October 5, 2014
Water Elevation 3318 feet
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Autumn Color At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Although a shivering chill continued to be felt amid gusty winds during afternoon hours of October 5, it was not nearly as COLD as that endured by those simply amazing racers who participated in the first ever High Knob Hellbender 10K on October 4 when wind chill factors plunged into the 10s & 20s!

Reference the above link for complete race results.

October 5, 2014
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Water Reflections In Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Water reflections were hard to come by due to gusty winds that kept these high elevation lakes churning throughout the day.

Water reflections of autumn colors can be simply awesome in
these lakes when winds are light and water surfaces glassy calm.

October 5, 2014
Head of Mountain Fork of Big Stony Creek
High Knob Lake Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The bare nature of numerous trees could also be seen amid lofty High Knob Lake Basin, where significant color changes were on display.

October 5, 2014
Northern Exposed Slopes
Head of Mountain Fork of Big Stony Creek
High Knob Lake Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Significant color changes were observed in the 
Big Cherry Lake area during October 5; although sun glare and backscattered light from clouds made it difficult to fully see without using binoculars 
( i.e., it would have stood out best under 
cloudy skies from miles away ).

October 5, 2014
Northern Exposed Slopes
Telephoto View from High Knob Lookout
Big Cherry Lake Area of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Although color was increasing, green remained much more abundant on southern facing slopes than on northern exposed slopes highlighted in previous photographs.

Differences between northern & southern exposed slopes are present throughout the year but become more visible during seasonal transitions ( in spring & autumn ) and especially during
the SNOW season!

October 5, 2014
View From High Knob Lookout Tower
Much More Green On Southern Facing Slopes
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Color changes along Bowman Mountain, above Eastland Creek and west of High Chaparral, are more advanced than on southern facing slopes.

Both mountain slopes shown in these photographs;
although miles apart, are near the same elevation.

October 5, 2014
Eastland Creek of Clear Creek Basin
Color Changes Across Bowman Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Despite gorgeous skies, a shivering chill was 
felt at the High Knob Lookout Tower during 
the afternoon ( temperatures in the 40s 
with wind chill factors in the 30s ).

October 5, 2014
Majesty of High Knob High Country
Looking SW From High Knob Summit
Gorgeous Skies At High Knob Lookout
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

A scenic shot looking southwest along 
the High Knob Landform into Lee County.

The photograph below is a telephoto shot
made by zooming along right side of above view.

October 5, 2014
High Knob Lookout Tower
High Knob Massif & Landform
Southern Exposed Slopes ( Mostly Visible )
Looking SW Past Elk Knob & Stocker Knob
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

A mountain wave cloud accentuated 
changing colors at Bark Camp Lake.

October 5, 2014
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Little Stony Creek Basin of High Knob Massif
Mountain Wave Cloud Over Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Looking up Bark Camp Lake in beautiful 
late afternoon light & chilly winds.

October 5, 2014
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Little Stony Creek Basin of High Knob Massif
Bark Camp Lake Amid Beautiful Light & Color
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Understory color is always a bonus along 
these high elevation mountain lakes.

October 5, 2014
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Understory Color Along The Lake Shore
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

There is an awesome amount of diversity and majesty amid the sprawling high country surrounding High Knob.

Despite all afternoon I visited just a small portion and photographed only two of the five mountain top lakes resting upon the core of this massif.

October 5, 2014
High Knob Lookout Tower View
Looking Across The Grindstone Ridge Dome
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Whitewater Churning
Wet Opening To October 2014

October 8, 2014
Elevation 2180 feet
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

A wet opening to October 2014 got whitewater churning in the High Knob Massif with up to 4.00" of measured rainfall in headwaters of Little Stony Creek basin during this first week ( * ).

*That is as much or more rain than typically falls during October, which is climatologically the driest month of the year in the
High Knob Landform.  Most of this accumulated October 6-7.

October 8, 2014
High Knob Massif
Middle Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

October 2014 may well become the wettest on record in the City of Norton where 3.15" of rain were officially measured during October 1-8.

With much more rain on the way, this record
could actually be broken by October 15!

October 8, 2014
High Knob Massif
Clinch River Watershed of Upper Tennessee Basin
Majestic Whitewater Along Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

This nearly matched the 1983-2012 ( 30-year ) average of 3.20" .


Climate Statistics
For September 2014

( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 74.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 56.1 degrees
MEAN: 65.1 degrees
Highest Temperature: 84 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 44 degrees
Rainfall: 2.29"
2014 Precipitation: 38.85"
( 40.72" as of October 8 )

( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 73.5 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 52.9 degrees
MEAN: 63.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 83 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 37 degrees
Rainfall: 3.26"
2014 Precipitation: 39.42"
( 42.57" as of October 8 )

( Along the Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 72.9 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 57.7 degrees
MEAN: 65.3 degrees
Highest Temperature: 81 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 44 degrees
Rainfall: 3.21"
2014 Precipitation: 34.47"
( 36.62" as of October 8 )

October 8, 2014
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Whitewater Churns Along Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

This section is under construction.  Check back for updates.

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