January 4, 2013
Destination: Somewhere Warm
The landscape was transformed over night. Two days ago we were exploring the dry, sandy terrain of the desert and today we find ourselves stranded on a snow capped mountain. The wind has finally subsided, and though still bitterly cold, we emerge from our humble camper as two butterflies finally free of the constraint of our cocoon. There is hardly a soul left in the campground. Our neighbors in the tent next to us appear to have not returned last night or perhaps were able to find accommodation in the lodge above us (lucky devils). There is evidence of a hoofed visitor or two during the night or early morning hours but otherwise, there are few signs of life. As we head out to explore the snow, we leave our footprints behind as signs of life.
Roads to the mountain top (or in our case mountain bottom) are closed so it appears we will be staying until the roads re-open.
No worries! We have a couple of days to get lost. Enough time to build a snowman, even if he is only 6 inches high.
It appears that all is frozen in our bear proof box which has now become a deep freezer of sorts. Cooking outside, al fresco, in the bitter cold is not at all appealing today, so we have decided to head up to the lodge for a hot afternoon meal. Our first attempt was in the truck, but underestimating the amount of ice under the powdery dust we were only able to make it halfway up the hill before the tires lost traction and we were forced to back it down to the campground (not a simple feat when braking equals sliding). We decided it would be best to go on foot. Besides, with no traffic getting up or down, we had the whole road to ourselves. It took about 20 minutes to make it to the lodge which was packed full of tourists keeping warm.
From bitter cold to sudden warmth, our bones begin to thaw. Right beside a window overlooking the snow covered mountains on one side and a beautiful open fire on the other we quickly feel like we made the right choice. Off go the the layers of clothing as we defrost with a warm cup of coco and an excellent meal. I can’t remember when chicken fried steak with country gravy and a big bowl of chili tasted so good. It was divine.
With our bellies full and blood circulating again, we head back down to the camper (a little reluctantly) to snuggle in together for the night. The road looked much better on the way back down, resembling more of a wet Slurpee from 7-Eleven than the floor of the ice-escapade. Maybe the roads will be clear enough to travel on tomorrow?