Monday, July 16, 2018

Mid-Summer 2018 In High Knob Massif


July 14, 2018
High Knob Lake Recreation Area
Majestic Summer Afternoon In High Country
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The water of High Knob Lake certainly ranks 
as some of the coldest in Virginia and offers a refreshing break from mid-summer heat. 

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The MAX temperature so far during Summer 2018 reached 81 degrees on Independence Day, marking only the second day this year to break 80 degrees at High Knob Lake ( as of July 14 ).

Hottest Period In 2018

A total of 2.5 hours ( 150 minutes ) have been at or above 80 degrees during 2018 at High Knob Lake 
( January 1-July 14 period ).

*The MAX temperature during 2017 reached 80 degrees at High Knob Lake on April 29 and July 22, marking 2 days during 2017 to officially break 80 degrees at the Lake.

High Knob Lake – June 2018
Elevation 1074 Meters ( 3523 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 72.0 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 57.6 degrees
MEAN: 64.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 78 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 48 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 19, 2016 to Present )

July 14, 2018
High Knob Lake Recreation Area
Majestic Summer Afternoon In High Country
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

High Knob Lake – July 1-14 2018
Elevation 1074 Meters ( 3523 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 76.0 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 59.6 degrees
MEAN: 67.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 81 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 53 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 19, 2016 to Present )

July 14, 2018
Towering Afternoon Cumulus
High Knob Lake Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Temperatures rarely break 80 degrees above 3600 feet, especially on northern exposed slopes, with the 2018 MAX temperature observed through 
July 14 being 79 degrees on Eagle Knob.

Hottest Period In 2018

July 14, 2018
High Knob Lookout Tower In AM Light
High Knob Meadow on High Knob Peak
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Eagle Knob – June 2018
Elevation 1277 Meters ( 4188 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 69.0 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 59.3 degrees
MEAN: 64.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 75 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 51 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 12, 2016 to Present )

The MAX temperature reached 77 degrees on Eagle Knob during the June-August period of 2017, with the highest temperature occurring anomalously on April 29 with 81 degrees.

July 14, 2018
Morning Haze Hangs Over Mountains
Looking West From High Knob Lookout
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Eagle Knob – July 1-14, 2018
Elevation 1277 Meters ( 4188 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 73.2 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 61.5 degrees
MEAN: 67.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 79 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 55 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 12, 2016 to Present )

July is Lily time in the high country and the beauties are on display in various places.

July 14, 2018
High Knob Massif
Turk's-cap Lily ( Lilium superbum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 14, 2018
High Knob Massif
Canada Lily ( Lilium canadense var. editorum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 14, 2018
High Knob Massif
Turk's-cap Lily ( Lilium superbum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Canada Lilies appeared to have been eaten on 
by White-tailed Deer, while the more abundant Turk's-cap Lilies ( some plants with 1-2 dozen flowers ) did not yet appear to be significantly impacted.

July 14, 2018
High Knob Massif
Turk's-cap Lily Lilium superbum )
 Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Canadian Nettles, also called Wood Nettle, are tall and bristly amid the abundant moisture and have grown 4-5+ feet tall in places.

July 14, 2018
In Mid-Summer Bloom
Wood Nettle ( Laportea canadensis )
 Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Chimney Rock Gorge

Chimney Rock Gorge is part of the 41.9 square mile Big Stony Creek multi-gorge complex that includes Devil Fork Gorge, Straight Fork Gorge, the main-stem gorge of Big Stony Creek and side tributaries such as Glady Fork ( which drains The Glades ) 
and Coalpit Branch.

*High Knob Lake sits at the head of Mountain Fork of Big Stony Creek near the top of this amazing 41.9 square mile watershed.

July 20, 2018
Jefferson National Forest
Chimney Rock Formation of High Knob Massif
 Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Three huge quartz-arenite pillars of rock rise vertically above the Chimney Rock Fork of Big Stony Creek, in northern Scott County, to generate a majestically rugged section of mountain terrain.  Yet another treasure contained within the great High Knob Massif.

*The wilderness setting of this area is in contrast to a massive 1,000+ acre logging operation on private land, a short distance away, that is clear-cutting an adjacent portion of the Big Stony Creek watershed.

July 20, 2018
Big Stony Creek Watershed
Chimney Rock Formation of High Knob Massif
 Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The dangers involved in hiking to this location should be clearly stated to anyone thinking of viewing this mountain treasure.

These include Timber Rattlesnakes ( Crotalus horridus ) and possible Copperheads ( Agkistrodon contortrix ) during the warm season, as well as the natural danger involved with an open, rock outcrop with no railing ( this is analogous in some ways to Bear Rock of Little Stony Creek ) during any time.

*The above could be stated of many places in this magnificient area; however, there is not yet an officially designated Jefferson National Forest trail to this location 
so I feel obligated to point out these dangers to those who may not be familiar with this rugged location. 

July 20, 2018
Big Stony Creek Watershed
Chimney Rock Formation of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A few bird species observed included:

Ruffed Grouse
( Bonasa umbellus )

Cedar Waxwing
( Bombycilla cedrorum )

Red-shouldered Hawk
( Buteo lineatus )

Broad-winged Hawk
( Buteo platypterus )

Turkey Vulture
( Cathartes aura )

Blue-jay
( Cyanocitta cristata )

Swainson's Warbler 
( Limnothlypis swainsonii )

Louisiana Waterthrush
( Parkesia motacilla )

Indigo Bunting
( Passerina cyanea )

Hooded Warbler
( Setophaga citrina )

Black-throated Green Warbler
( Setophaga virens )

American Goldfinch
( Spinus tristis )

Chipping Sparrow
( Spizella passerina )

Red-eyed Vireo
( Vireo olivaceus )

Blue-headed Vireo
( Vireo solitarius )

July 20, 2018
Jefferson National Forest
Chimney Rock Formation of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Chimney Rock is a mountain treasure that needs to be respected and protected for future generations.

July 20, 2018
Jefferson National Forest
Chimney Rock Formation of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Flag Rock Recreation Area
( City of Norton Park )

July 20, 2018
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Stone-Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

City of Norton, Virginia
Northern Base of High Knob Massif
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The High Knob Massif is a tectonic mountain which rises adjacent to the southeastern edge of horizontal stratas of the Appalachian Plateau, a portion of which is contained within the great Cumberland Overthrust Block. 

Observe the nearly even top of the plateau 
on upper left of the view illustrated below.

July 20, 2018
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Stone-Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Wet Summer Pattern

A wet and stormy summer pattern has developed and looks to continue through the remainder of July into August, with cooler than average temperatures for this time of year.

July 20, 2018
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Towering Cumulus Build During The Afternoon
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Rain totals during July 20-22 reached 2.00" to 4.00" in the High Knob Massif-Black Mountain corridor northeast to Breaks Interstate Park, 
with 3.26" officially measured in Clintwood.

*This boosted 2018 precipitation tallies to 40.50" in 
Clintwood and to 41.79" ( M ) in the City of Norton.
( M ) = missing data during February.

A general 45.00" to 55.00" of precipitation has fallen in the High Knob Massif-Black Mountain corridor, above 3000 feet, during 2018 
( January 1-July 22 ).

Black Mountain Mesonet 
Monthly Precipitation Totals
( Elevation 4031 Feet )

January
4.94"

February
14.08"

March
6.39"

April
3.88"

May
14.25"

June
3.84"

July 1-22
6.70"

2018 Total: 54.08"

This section is under construction.  Please check back.

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