About The Close
About the Area
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Preparing for Your Retreat
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Winter is a very tranquil time for a retreat at
the Close. The rustling of the leaves have long gone, just the sound of
the breeze whooshing through the evergreen boughs. The roar of the river
nestled in the gorge is more prevalent and soothing to hear. The air is
dryer, there is no buzzing of insects, there are open views into the
Rockcastle River gorge and extended views into the surrounding Cumberland
The weather is ideal for both indoor and outdoor activities. Daytime
temperatures range from the 20’s to the 50’s and average around 40. Night
time temps, however, can fall into the single digits but generally stay in
the 20’s. Precipitation usually falls in the form of rain but we get a few
snowfalls averaging 2-3”.
Native and transient birds as well as water fowl can be viewed, especially
from mid to late Winter. Deer and other wildlife continue to forage on
nuts and grasses. The cotton tails can be readily seen. Mice tend to bring
some of the nuts indoors so remember to seal you food.
We would like to provide you with information to help you plan for your
stay. So we have written a few lines pertinent to the varying degrees of
the season that we experience here at The Close:
Early Winter (Mid December - Mid January):
This is usually the coldest time of the year with long nights and short
days. After taking a brisk walk, it is nice to return to a cozy cabin for
hot cocoa, journalling, reading, study and prayer. Birds like the titmouse
and goldfinch are common along the woodland edges. Also, remote areas on
the Close and the National Forest are accessible. Be careful, however, on
wet days when you are near the bluffs and steep hills. Please inform us
when you plan to venture into the surrounding woodlands. You will need to
dress in layers. Non-cotton garments are recommended with layers of wool
and or fleece. A rain shell should be worn over your clothing. Remember
gloves and toboggan to cover your skin. Keep your feet warm and dry with
liner socks, wool socks, and waterproof boots.
Mid Winter (Mid January - Late February):
Daylight hours begins to lengthen and woodland rambles are pleasant. It is
still a great time for restful sleep, reading, journalling and communion
with Christ. We begin to see the return of robins, woodpeckers, and geese.
Insects are few so it is a great time to be outside.
Late Winter (Late February - Late March):
Spring Fever spreads with the warmth of the sun, the bird songs, the
wildlife, and companionship of friends. Predictably, late freezes temper
our fever just a bit. Morning and evening fog tends to blanket the ridge
saddles and surrounding gorge. Rains are frequent, so watch for slippery
areas and muddy conditions especially around the rim of the plateau.
Shades of green begin to show on the surrounding hills and some flowering
trees showing color in March. So bring a camera or sketch pad.
A Winter packing list might include: Wool Socks, Liner Socks, Boots, Dry
Clothes for cabin wear, Hangers to hang wet clothes, polypro, wool, and
fleece layering garments, Cotton undergarments for late Winter. Remember
gloves, water repellent shell, warm meals, zip lock bags, camera,
binoculars, blankets, sleeping bags, twin size bed linens, cool clothes
for warmer days, strong storage containers, drinking water, drink mixes,
Bible, journal, pencil, drawing supplies, note pad, and other items
specific to your goals on retreat.
Yes, Winter is a great experience. The chill in the air, needle ice,
sheets of ice on pond surfaces, the cozy rooms, and little distractions
make for a fulfilling stay, here at The Close.