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.