Colorado spring weather is like a box of chocolates; you just never know what you’re going to get. I have experienced this time and time again while traveling Colorado.
This past weekend, I was caught in one heck of a crazy spring snow storm. It seemed as though six inches of thick, wet snow fell in less than an hour as we drove through the South Park area.
Myself, and my artist friend, Kerri Ertman, were headed to the Mountain Goat Lodge in Salida. We had both checked the weather before we struck out in Kerri’s brand new Jeep. The prediction was rain, rain, rain, so we were prepared to cuddle wet and muddy baby goats when we arrived in Salida.
The rain turned to snow in Conifer and as we crossed Kenosha pass and entered South Park, we found ourselves driving through thick, snowy fog. The fog slowly switched over to a driving snow that began collecting on the fields and roadway.
By the time we reached Red Hill Pass, just before Fairplay, the Jeep was slogging slowly through six inches of snow on the highway. Within a few minutes of climbing the hill, we were at a full stop.
It was noon; we had projected our arrival in Salida to be 12:30 p.m.
For the first hour, we were entertained by two ladies trying to push their sedan uphill, but their car would not go in any direction but sideways. At one point, one of the gals threw up her hands in pure exasperation. Neither of these women had coats or boots.
Kerri and I, however, sat in her warm Jeep, munching on a variety of snacks that we’d brought along including red vines, corn nuts and trail mix. Occasionally we’d get out and scrape off the snow that accumulated at an alarming rate on the windshield wipers.
Being smart Colorado girls, we’d both brought along thick, warm winter coats. An absolute must when traveling in the springtime in Colorado.
After an hour and a half, a Sheriff stopped his SUV alongside our Jeep and informed us that we had to turn around because they had to plow the part of the road on which we were sitting. We could go to the back of the line or back to Jefferson to wait out the storm.
“This is like a terrible game of Sorry,” exclaimed Kerri.
We braved driving back to Jefferson and then to my in-laws’ cabin in Indian Mountain, where we couldn’t manage to get Kerri’s car up the snowy driveway so we carried all our luggage up the long drive through a foot of freshly fallen snow.
About an hour later the sun came out and we lugged all our stuff back to the Jeep and made our way to Sadlia arriving in town at 5:30 p.m. A three-hour trip had turned into eight hours.
My point to this post? If you are going to travel Colorado’s mountains in the springtime, be prepared for adverse conditions and make sure you pack a good supply of corn nuts, your winter coat and a sunny disposition.