Our plans didn’t include… SNOW!

2011 09 15 b 016
September 15, 2011 – Rocky Mountain
National Park

2011 10 06 mikes pictures 057
October 6, 2011 – near Flagstaff

2011 10 03 a 070-2

We learned several years ago that it was advisable to make reservations in advance when planning to camp in popular national parks.  This year we made reservations for Rocky Mountain National Park (5 nights), Arches National Park (3 nights) and Grand Canyon National Park (3 nights north rim and 3 nights south rim).

We saw our first snow of the trip on September 15 when we were camped at Rocky Mountain National Park.  It had been kind of cloudy and rainy on the 14th.  We had driven across the park over Trail Ridge Road and had lunch and did a little shopping in Grand Lake.  On the way back, we ran into very heavy fog.  Around 3 pm, we stopped at the Trail Ridge Gift Store – next to the Alpine Visitor Center at 12,000 feet – for a coffee break.  Unfortunately, it had already closed and, where it had been in the 60s in Grand Lake, the temperature was 35°F.  We made it down in plenty of time, but, just a few hours later, Trail Ridge Road was closed due to snow.

Yesterday (Wednesday, October 14) morning I got online to check the weather. We were camped at Grand Canyon North Rim and were planning to travel today to the South Rim today. Unfortunately, the forecast was for rain/snow mix turning to snow with possible 1 to 2 inch accumulations. I knew that that wouldn’t be bad if that’s all that it did. However the forecast for today was for more precipitation and wind. With driving a somewhat boxy motorhome and towing a car, the overall forecast was too iffy, so we canceled our reservation at South Rim and left North Rim yesterday — the drive was still a fight with the wind, but there was no precipitation.

We heard on the evening news earlier that Jacob Lake, at beginning of  the road to North Rim, got 3 inches of snow.  Just as I thought, there was little or no snow sticking to the roads, but I’ve heard of too many surprise significant mountain snow accumulations to risk it with our motorhome.

We’re camped 50 miles south of South Rim and will go to the canyon tomorrow and the next day — it’s going to be cold and bit of a drive, but that’s okay.


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