The morning gave way to clear skies and an impressive sunrise tattered with oranges and pinks. The clouds were nestled below the park's highest peaks and stretched as far as the eye could see. Again, unable to go through with the airlift, the afternoon was open for an adventure. All day the sky was a deep, rich blue and I thought it would make for a great background with the white that blanketed the mountains and cotton candy clouds. It was time to visit Myrtle Point, which required breaking trail beyond High Top. I got my workout for the afternoon, and boy was it worth it. I came to find out that the clouds extended north to the horizon but were cut off at the Smokies main ridge. The North Carolina side was crystal clear with unlimited visibility. I was hesitant to walk around the point because I enjoyed the look of a smooth, snowy surface untouched by boot holes.
Immediately I was amazed at the vast number of turkey vultures that rode the winds rising up from the valley. There must have been a hundred that would shoot up the slopes of Myrtle Point, glide across the crest of LeConte, and rocket back down near Cliff Tops, continually repeating the cycle. The clouds, the snowy peaks, and the deep blue atmosphere made for an incredible panorama. As much as I wanted not to leave, I figured I would check out Cliff Tops on my way back to the Lodge. Along the way I witnessed a red-tailed hawk soar above me before I lost it in the trees. The cliffs were still blanketed in white, and the ridge went from West Point to Balsam Point before disappearing underneath the clouds. The weather conditions remained the same throughout the day, resulting in a fantastic sunset. The sights from this day certainly rank with some of my more memorable moments in this park.