Looking up a snowy Summer Road

Whoosh!  Whoosh!  The wind comes blasting down our road as I step outside.  Winter has finally arrived, complete with high winds rolling off the mountain crest, sub-freezing temperatures, and yes, even a bit of snow.  Happy as I am for some snow (I’m a skier), it does complicate things a bit getting around.

We got a couple of inches of snow yesterday, which coompared to the huge storms of last spring, seems like nothing.  But going on our seventh winter here in Nederland, I know two inches of snow can complicate driving as much as a foot of new snow.  Particularly, when it comes to driving one-half mile of dirt road known as The Summer Road.  This morning, as I contemplate the best way to drive to Boulder, I wonder, “Do I feel lucky today?”

The Summer Road is a local access road down to Boulder Canyon with grades over 30% and is not maintained (read, not plowed of snow) during the wintertime.  Dry and clear during the summertime, it shaves a good 15 minutes of driving time down to Boulder.  But as soon as even an inch of snow covers its steep and winding switchbacks, things get a bit dicey.

Six years ago, in a hurry one night, I didn’t stop and pause to mull over this decision.  I had a Subaru Forester — car of Colorado!  All wheel drive!  I’ll be ok.

Five minutes later, I lived to regret that decision.  As I edged my Suburu down the last switchback, the car started sliding, anti-lock brakes pulsing.  My heart felt like it was in my throat, I could barely breathe — I’m going to die!  Fearing the car launch over the embankment down the hillside, I instead steered into a ditch on the inside of the hillside.  Now I was stuck.   A neighbor who had studded tires on his truck, was kind of enough to pick me up and take me home.  Getting the car out?  That’s a whole other story…

So this morning, as I set out for Boulder, I reflected on all these memories or shall I say, Post Traumatic Stress — of my blood pressure skyrocketing, pulse racing, heart-in-my-throat and answered that question, “Do I Feel Lucky?”

And the answer was no.