Through the ages this Southern boy has been involved with several altercations; most of them involving Winter storms.
Today was no different.
On my first X-Country trip I-90 was closed and I was forced to brave the climb through Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming. It was my first exposure to serious snow at serious altitude. I pointed the Nissan Maxima towards a SR and headed up a mountainside. As I climbed I noticed flashing yellow lights up ahead. Traffic was stopped. Oh no. This route was closed too? Yes. But for an entirely different reason. A crew was blasting the side of the mountain with dynamite. This was also my first exposure to serious explosions at serious altitude. After about 5 minutes I heard a blast. Hmmm. After 20 minutes the gentleman holding the STOP sign flipped the pole to the ‘green means go’ side and I continued my way up the hillside. Passed the blast site it began to snow, sideways. I had already been passed by all the cars that were stopped behind me during the construction (destruction?). As far as the eye could see was white. I couldn’t even tell where the National Forest began and the road ended.
My second exposure was with my friend and former roommate Kai. We were spending the night in a yurt off the Mount Rainier Climbing Club trails. We started the hike in relatively calm conditions, but as we moved slowly upward the snow began. Roughly five uphill miles later in knee deep snow we were shaking off like wet dogs in the yurt. I’m pretty sure I slept too close to the wood stove that night. I’m also pretty sure someone drying their socks off on the stove hiked down sans socks.
My X-Country back to GA was when I experienced my worst battle with a winter storm to date. As I entered Steamboat, CO headed towards Denver to stay with a friend it began to lightly snow. As I headed up over the pass the light snow became a crazy blizzard. I saw more than 1 4×4 SUV slip off into a guard rail. Traffic was not heavy so no “tracks” were being created. I had to punch the gas slightly with my wheels turned away from the cliffs. My tires would then begin to slip towards the fall off. Before I slid too far I again would have to turn my wheels and punch the gas. I would think about stopping to help those would had not made it, but I knew once my wheels stopped I would not make it through the pass. After continuing this process for well over an hour I made it through the pass. I called my father jubilantly to praise my own victory
Today, I gave in to the storm. It wasn’t as terrible as Steamboat Pass, but it wasn’t a wimpy storm either. I was teased by the glory of sticking out another storm, but when there is a wife. daughter, and truck load of belongings in tow. Glory doesn’t taste as sweet as safety