Sunday, April 19, 2009

Colorado Powder Day: Coal Creek Canyon

After the snow storm first 24 hours we had a little over 3 feet at the house...and it kept coming.
Colorado was hit by yet another huge snow storm leaving a grand total of 46 inches in Coal Creek Canyon in 3 days. The power went out after the first 12 hours of absolute blizzard conditions in the high country with trees snapping under the weight of the spring snow and
pulling down power lines. I knew we would have to hunker down after a “reverse 911” call from the sheriff’s department declaring a state of emergency after the first day of snow. The message stated that roads would not be maintained and traveling should be limited to emergency situations only. The road crews, although top notch in the canyon, just could not keep up with the rate of accumulation.
The wood burning stove was literally our saving grace for almost three days. With no electricity the house was without forced air heat, water (electric well pump) and kitchen appliances. Nell and I cooked, melted snow for water, dried our snow gear, and maintained about 65 degrees house temperature just using the wood burning stove. That is not to say we were “roughing it”. In the picture above pork chops sizzles and asparagus steams to perfection, over the three days we also prepared on the stove: steamed prawn, Spanish rice, omelets and toast, egg sandwiches, chocolate covered bananas and of course coffee.

The morning hours of the storm, day 2. This sled was above the snow pack when it was parked the night before.

The fun is wasting the day on the snowmobiles in the neighborhood. Since the plows and road crews were on hold, we had all the roads to play on. Nell and I explored the sub divisions and discovered side roads and loops that I had not known about. We spent the day wearing out the dogs (they liked to chase the sleds), getting stuck and playing in the snow. After the second solid day of blizzard conditions the snow kept coming into the night.

The snow finally stopped in the morning hours of day 3 to bluebird skies and warmer temperatures (40+F).
It took the good part of the morning to dig out the vehicles and parts of the deck. The snow plows and heavy equipment arrived about noon to clear the roads. The magnitude of the storm could be seen by towering snow piles from the plows, the many down trees and ditched vehicles scattered throughout canyon.

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