worst winter weather

Being from Alaska, I like to think I have some pretty good winter weather stories and pictures.

It was a dark and stormy night- wait, that’s not my story. But it’s similar! Sorry for trying to steal your thunder (no pun intended), Snoopy!

It was actually a dark and snowy day. I was pregnant with Harper and had an appointment in Anchorage, which was a good two-hour drive, even in good weather. There is only one road that gets us there (the Seward Highway) and it can be a harrowing, winding journey. Being winter, the sky was dark for most of the day and we knew it was going to be a long trek, so we decided to leave early.

Here is what the road looks like on a good winter day:

The appointment was at 2pm, so Terry suggested we head out at 8am. We packed tons of snacks, lunch, blankets and our emergency kit. I was the one driving, since I am terrified of not being in control when traveling through less-than-perfect road conditions.

The road to Anchorage was covered in ice and deep piles of snow, about 6 feet at the deepest point. The snow was falling fast, and the flakes were fat and sticky. Being Alaska, though, most of the drivers were still going about 70mph.

We hit a place called Turnagin Pass, always the roughest, snowiest, most windy point in the trip. I slowed to about 45mph due to the white-out conditions. I couldn’t see a car in any direction, much less the side of the road. Heck, I may have been driving over the mountains and I wouldn’t have known any different.

This isn’t from that particular day, but here’s a snowy mountain shot:

The car was sliding around but we held our own on the road. Suddenly, I saw two faint red lights ahead of me, so I tapped my brakes as quickly as possible and tried to move to what I thought was the other side of the road. The car in front of me was actually an RV and had apparently only been about 5 feet in front of me.

I managed to avoid hitting the RV and kept going, figuring the road would get better. I was wrong. If possible, it got worse. The snow fell harder and faster and I began seeing glimpses of cars on the side of the road, but I pressed on, at 35mph.

This picture gives you a general idea of the way the road turns:

We were about 4 hours into our trip to Anchorage and we weren’t even close. Terry was helping me peer out the frosty windshield to watch for other cars and frost heaves on the road. Our Saturn bumped and plodded along, mashing piles of slush and ice beneath the studded snow tires, slowly climbing slick hills, and sliding sideways down icy mountain passes.

After six and a half agonizingly long hours, we made it to Anchorage and my appointment. We had called them several times, telling them we would be there, just a little late. After we left the doctor, we decided to spend the night in a hotel, which turned into two nights, due to how crazy the snow was. It took us about 5 hours to get home.

Needless to say, it was by far the worst winter weather I had to deal with.

I don’t want you to think that Alaska only has grim, snowy moments, so here is a view on the Seward highway in nicer conditions:

This post brought to you thanks to inspiration from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop… wanna join in? Just click the button below!

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