(WBIR - Monroe County) While the recent arctic blast of air has created its fair share of challenges throughout East Tennessee, there is a frosty silver lining to the single-digit temperatures in the form of beautiful winter scenery in the mountains.
Crowds flocked to Bald River Falls in Monroe County throughout Tuesday to see a relatively rare sight. The frigid air has turned much of the 90 foot waterfall into a crystal cascade with icy avenues of rushing rapids.
Tuesday's visit to the falls was the frosting on top of a birthday celebration for Heather Byers of Tellico Plains.
"It is my birthday. I'm the big 30 today, so I'm excited. I'm up here with my family, my husband and two kids, and a lot of extended family. We love coming to the mountains and this waterfall. It's just awesome. It's just beautiful how half of the falls is frozen, then half of it is not. So it's just beautiful to see the contrast," said Byers. "I'm with my family and we're in God's country at this beautiful falls. Life is awesome."
They Byers are just one of dozens of families who made the trek up to Bald River Falls to relish the rare visual feast. The arctic aesthetics delighted 10-year-old Naria Brown of Etowah.
"We've been out here in the summer, but like this [when it is frozen] we haven't," said Brown. "It is really pretty and it is really cold. The waterfall is the best part. The ice sickles are amazing."
If you want to see the frozen falls for yourself, the Cherohala Skyway and most of the route to Bald River Falls is clear of snow and safe for vehicles. However, be aware there are still some icy spots in shaded areas along the narrow road leading up to the falls.