Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowy Sunday

Snowy Sunday outside means busy blogger inside. I'm just back from a Thanksgiving trip to visit family—solo, alas! Darling Husband (DH) stayed home, kept the bird feeders filled and the domestic predators monitored and managed. All safe and sound at home now, myself included.

Someday I am going to blog the entire drive across Colorado—it will take several posts, I'm sure. Yesterday's trip home was daunting, especially over the last of the six passes that must be crossed. Fairplay, at the north edge of wide open South Park, is known for high winds and high-speed driving. When there's snow, it becomes doubly challenging. Here's a view of the Fairplay-to-Jefferson stretch, courtesy Google Earth. The light green area is part of South Park; it did not look like this yesterday.

The 16 miles from Fairplay to Jefferson were introduced by a huge road sign that read "Winter driving conditions ahead." That was daunting enough for a weather wimp like me; the new hotel back in Fairplay was beginning to sound good. We came to a complete stop at Jefferson, where state troopers and tow trucks greeted all, just two miles from the base of Kenosha Pass (upper right in photo above), because someone had already miscalculated the appropriate travel speed. One patrol car fell in reassuringly behind me. (Ah, I thought, there'll be a witness at least, if I slide over the edge.) White-out blizzard conditions prevailed for the next 16 miles, as we all crept cautiously over the mountain. A more dedicated blogger would have stopped for photos, I'm sure.

Here's a view of part of South Park from Kenosha Pass under more hospitable conditions in October, just a few weeks ago. Good thing I got home on Saturday—they closed the road from Fairplay to Kenosha Pass on Sunday!

Mountains in Colorado create their own weather, it often seems, and Kenosha is not especially difficult or treacherous, as mountain passes go. As soon as we reached the eastern base of the pass, clear dry road conditions resumed, and the rest of the trip home was uneventful.

DH was the real hero of this trip, providing a fresh set of snowtires and brand new windshield wipers before I left, and promptly pouring me a glass of wine when I got home. He even allowed me to spend the entire evening immobilized on the couch under a warm and purring feline coverlet!

Kenosha Pass (el. 3048 m./10,000 ft.) is a high mountain pass located in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. View article on; see also South Park ; and Fairplay.

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