Camp in the Snow? Why, yes!

We recently planned another weekend getaway in our AV, but the weather reports weren’t looking favorable. There was rain and snow in the forecast. After the awful fire season we’ve been having in Montana, rain and snow sounded like a welcome relief. But not favorable camping weather.

In the past we’ve canceled camping trips due to heavy rain in the forecast. My husband said that he didn’t want to be cooped up inside all day if it was raining.

But that was before he ordered the Camco Olympian Wave Catalytic Heater. He’s been itching to try it out. We did use it during our recent rainy stay in Helena when we went to visit our kids. But here was the ultimate test: snowy weather.

Earlier in the week he’d said that we wouldn’t go camping in the mountains if it was snowing. Later in the week, he changed his mind.

I was nervous. I had to be back at work by one o’clock on Saturday afternoon. What if there was a white-out? What if the snow was so deep we couldn’t get out of our camping spot? What if the roads were covered in snow and we couldn’t see where we were driving? What if the roads were covered in ice?

Disaster planning is my specialty. Sometimes, a small part of me would like for a zombie apocalypse to occur if, and only if, I had enough advanced warning so that I could plan for such an emergency. I put away emergency food stores back during the Y2K crisis that never happened. Not because I thought it would really happen, it was just sort of fun being prepared – just in case. You know? I’m weird like that.

At the same time, I get nervous thinking about real crises that are more likely to happen, like getting stuck in the mountains during a snowstorm. I’ve been there and done that before. It was scary, not just for us but for all of the cars that had stopped in Monida Pass that blizzardy day years ago.

At first, we thought there must have been a traffic accident up ahead and that was why a long string of cars was pulled over to the side of the road. We asked someone nearby if this was the case. He said, “No, we’re all just too skeered to go on.” I’m not sure what part of the U.S. he was from, but I thought Minnesota maybe? Do they say – skeered in Minnesota instead of scared? I don’t know.

Anyhow, skeered or not, we decided to leave the herd and press on. It seemed to us that staying put might not be the best idea in a blizzard. Wouldn’t the roads just get more covered over in snow? I don’t know the answer to that either.

We nearly regretted our decision when we drove on for a ways and nearly collided into a white car that had stopped in the road instead of pulling over to the side of the road. They hadn’t put their hazard lights on or anything. They had simply come to a full stop in the right lane of the road. I assume they were skeered, too.

Our van, not our AV, but a Nissan mini-van, did a pirouette, around them. We came to a stop in front of them, stuck in a snow bank on the side of the road. Somehow, my husband got us out of the snow bank and back on the road again. We eventually made it to the closest town and got a hotel room. We were stuck in Idaho for two days as the storm raged on. I wonder if the people who’d decided to stay on the side of the road up in Monida Pass stayed there for those two days in their vehicles?

At any rate, getting back to our recent camping trip, these were the thoughts on my mind as we headed to the mountains to camp for two nights. Sure enough, the rain we encountered gave way to snow as we climbed in elevation.

As it turned out, it will remain in my mind as one of the best camping trips we’ve ever taken. I have no regrets. It was absolutely beautiful! We didn’t get stuck, and the drive out on Saturday morning was glorious!


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