Wet heavy snow deposited by "Superstorm Sandy," downed trees, and millions of leaves were being tackled by crews at Shenandoah National Park on Halloween with hopes of getting part of the park open in time for the weekend.
Though the calendar still said "October," the snow-coated scenery around the park made things look decidedly wintry.
“Actually, the wind was not as much trouble as the snow," Superintendent Martha Bogle said during a phone call Wednesday afternoon. "The oaks are stingy with leaves, they hang onto them for a long time. Even at the higher elevations the oaks still had their leaves, and the evergreens still had their needles.
“This was a heavy, heavy snow, so we had a lot of trees down along the drive...It was a deep heavy snow with ice on top.”
So hefty was the snow that plows couldn't fling it over the rock walls that border Skyline Drive. Instead, front-end loaders were summoned to dump the snow over the walls.
“So that’s been a challenge. We’ve been working diligently during the daylight hours to get the (Skyline) Drive open to Skyland for the weekend," said the superintendent, adding, however, that "Big Meadows is without power."
"We received over a foot up at big Meadows. When I see the pictures, it looks well over a foot," said Superintendent Bogle.
Compounding the problem with snow removal was that any melting during the day would freeze overnight and leave a hoary crust atop the snow, she said.