Just a few weeks ago, my roommates and I traveled to a couple national parks, with a few of them being dark sky parks. for a week over our spring break. While we prepared for cold nights and warm days in remote locations , we were not prepared for nor did we anticipate the weather we’d experience in Utah while visiting Natural Bridges National Monument.
Throughout our trip we were camping on blm land, so just outside Natural Bridges we took a small dirt road up a mountain until we found a clearing with a view.
On our way up, however, we couldn’t help but notice a sign reading “roads are impassable when wet.” And we especially couldn’t help but notice the treacherous path the road along a few steep cliffs and hillsides.
While we picked a spot with trees to protect from the wind, our elevation and exposure to the weather proved to be a much stronger factor in this than the trees. It wasn’t long into the night before the weather took a nasty turn. We found ourselves being regularly woken up to the tent wall hugging us, as the wind flattened the sides of the tent and blew rain/snow horizontally and between the rain fly.
After what seemed like forever, the morning came, but the wind still blew strong and the rain/snow mixture began to seem more like snow. Our plan was to stay at this location for another night, but if the weather continued like it had we would likely not be able to leave the next day.
One of our two cars were stuck in their parking spots, but we decided to pack up our camp as quickly as possible and try to make off the mountain before the weather got worse.
After a frightening ride down and a little bit of pushing, we made it off the mountain and the dirt road, but the snow continued relentlessly and the roads got worse until we made it to monument valley and friendlier weather eventually in New Mexico.
When we checked the weather later, we found out the snow had continued for much of the day in natural bridges national monument, and we were lucky to get out when we did.