Well, after an unseasonably warm October and early November, winter has finally arrived with a vengeance. The temperatures yesterday plummeted 40 degrees over the course of a few hours from the early hours in the morning where there were in the low 50s to mid-teens by noon time. We also had about three inches of snow that fell as well, which made for nasty driving conditions in Boulder Canyon. Boulder Canyon is the road that connects Nederland to Boulder and thought it is only 17 miles between the two, the elevation drops almost 3000 feet, which means grades of 10% in places. Combine the steep grades with winding curves, with icy, snow-packed roads, and you can almost guarantee there will be accidents. Yesterday was no exception. I left our house at around 3 pm and snow was already accumulating, and the road was getting slippery. By the time I drove home in the evening, the Canyon had closed for several hours because of multiple accidents. They did finally reopen it and I got home at 10:10 p.m. Such are the perils of mountain, winter driving.
Unfortunately, because Boulder Canyon is a main route, it is used by commuters, as well as trucks and buses. The steep grades mean that many times trucks and buses go sideways on the steeper parts, until the CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) requires chains for commercial vehicles. We have also frequently seen cars that just bail out along the sides of the road, because of lack of traction, usually the 2-wheeled drive kind. Probably the most memorable accident was when Bryon was driving home during a snowstorm a couple of years ago, and a car had pulled over and motioned for him to do the same. As he did, he saw a SUV had flipped over and was lying upside down in Boulder Creek which flows alongside the roadway. Fortunately, the mother and her two kids were wearing their seat belts, but were hanging upside down in the car. They were able to get out safely with virtually no injuries.
The tough thing about the conditions and accidents is there is not cell service in Boulder Canyon. I have often been flagged down by people after their cars careen off the road, to either give them a ride, or at least assure them once I get to Boulder or Nederland to call the Sheriff’s office to send help. For myself, it can make it interesting getting to work in winter, as I know chances are good I may be delayed or even stuck. So I usually call my work to let them know I’m leaving, then call again when and if I reach Boulder to let them know my status.
However, given all this, I am still elated by the cold and snow. This is in part why Bryon and I moved to Nederland, to live in a place where we would get lots of snow right where we lived. And of course, the passionate skier in me is excited for the start of a new ski season, to get out their and make tracks. Let it snow….