Saturday, September 23, 2006

Snow in September?

The first morning I woke up at Ridgeway, there was a light dusting of snow on the camper. "Oh how cute! Snow in September!" I thought. "I'll take a picture of it". More snow had fallen in the higher elevations (my drive of hell on Hwy 550 the previous evening). But the day cleared up, so I did the Hwy 550 drive again. This time, some beautiful snow and fall aspen scenes:

I assumed that the snowfall had been a freak occurance and that the rest of the week would be nice, as it said in the last forecast I'd seen a few days ago. Well.... the Rockies can be very unpredictable in September. The next morning, I woke up to 6 inches of snow on the camper, and the snow was continuing to fall at a very rapid rate!

I was unable to get any radio or TV reception, but one of the fellow campers had a satellite dish and he said they were calling for continued heavy snow all day at elevations above 4,000 feet. Hmm, the campground was only about 5000 feet, and I had remembered that the town of Montrose about 30 minutes away was at 4000 feet. So, I quickly decided to pack up and leave camp a day early to head down to lower elevations. A couple of the retired men near the campground said "you're going to drive a trailer in this???" But I had a good feel for what I was about to do. I knew my trailer towed well without swaying, and knew Montrose was an all down hill 30 minute drive. So I went for it!

As the weather report predicted, by the time I got down to Montrose, it was all rain. I continued to drive northwest to lower elevations, and by mid-afternoon, made the snap decision to drive out west a couple hours to Moab, Utah where I was hoping it'd be clear and dry. Turns out, I made a VERY wise decision! I found out later that day that Hwy 550's upper elevations near Silverton, had received 36" of snow, and at Ridgeway where I'd been camping, they received 18" of snow. Had I stayed, I would have been snowed-in and stuck for days!

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