Saturday, May 28, 2016

Snowbound in the Middle of Nowhere - An "Unscheduled Stop" in our Trek North to Alaska

Stranded in snow!  Our Verizon Canada plan in effect, but we are in the middle of nowhere, so no reception.  Breaker Breaker 1-9!  No response on the CB either.  No one was prepared for this storm, least of all the road crews.  They say they NEVER get snow here this late in the season.  In fact, they have converted all their plow trucks from carrying sand to carrying water for the summer season!

Saturday started out typical for us.  We left the camping area at 7 a.m. to a dreary, rainy day.  We stopped for fuel in Fort Nelson where the rain began to turn to sleet.  No road closures or warnings of bad weather ahead.

We travel approximately 50 miles beyond Fort Nelson and the sleet turns to snow flurries.  Within 10 minutes it changed to a steady, heavy snowfall.  Within another 10 minutes, 3 inches of snow had accumulated.  By this point, we are in a series of inclines and dips, so visibility of what is ahead is minimal.  As we begin a slow ascent, we see a rig about ½ mile in front of us slip sliding all over the place.  They pull over-cannot make the incline.   We made an attempt, but realize we will not be able to climb this mountain without the risk of jackknifing.

Mom (also known as Sanchez the Snow Remover when we lived in our home back in Jersey), got out the snow shovel (she refused to part with it, thank goodness!), raided Tabatha’s stock of kitty litter, and organized our brigade.  But a local fireman in a pickup coming down the mountain said, “don’t bother”—all sorts of vehicles, including motorcycles and RVs, are stuck up the wazoo, all the way to the top of this summit.

Sanchez the Snow Remover Hard at Work


Mom's Kitty Litter Brigade

So we sat on a steep incline on a curve and waited for plows to come by.  You can’t make this stuff up!

2.5 hours later, the first plow comes by.  The vehicles stuck behind us start to follow the plow immediately. They didn’t get too far—now they are stuck in front of us!  Guess we ain’t getting to our Laird camping reservations!

The plow trucks have the bulk of the stranded folks over this incline, but not sure many of them got very far.  Some of them are heading back down the mountain, deciding it best to go back to Fort Nelson since the snow continues to fall heavily, with accumulations of about 6 inches now.

We continue to flag down plow guys and ask for sand to be put down—we cannot gain the proper traction without it.  They all assure us they are coming to do that.  They ask us to be patient.  Another hour goes by, and still we sit.

Four more plow guys go by, plowing snow into the areas our snow brigade had cleared out.  Now the “Jersey” in us comes out--after all, another 45 minutes have gone by!  We block the path of the next plow coming down the incline.  We convince him to turn around and plow/drop sand in front of us until we get to flat land, a rest stop, or the abandoned lodge of which we are told, all within just one short mile.  Finally after 5 hours, we are getting to move safely!

Our excitement and relief were short lived, however.  As we turned a curve, the snow plow is no where to be seen, nor is there any more sand on the road!  Where is the freaking sand, eh?  We are stuck again on an inclined curve.

Mike/Claudia fare no better.  They had to disconnect the car and still could not make it up the mountain.

Mom gets out of the truck and starts walking, flagging down a tow truck.  After 8 hours, we are towed to the aforementioned abandoned lodge about a mile away.  But it is a mud pit beneath the snow layer!  We warned the drivers to come check us on Sunday, we will need their services again, I’m sure!

Mike/Claudia get towed downhill since the tow truck could not hook them up from the front, so they are about 2 miles downhill of us at the truck chaining area.  Thank goodness we have walkie talkies so we know we are at least all safe—for now.

After 9 hours, about 8 inches of snow on the ground now,  and only 50 miles under our belts, I feel like I’m on some Survivor show!  And God only knows what tomorrow will bring.

Stay tuned....


  1. Good to hear that you guys are ok. You know, nobody believed me when I told them that, historically, the latest winter storm in Canada was in June ��. Stay safe and patient, soon everything will be slouch....

  2. WTH? So much unexpected snow, yet you are missing those Hot Springs ahead! At least you are all safe and now have a unique memory to share. We are still about a month behind you.

  3. So glad you guys are okay!! Sounds very scary!

  4. Yikes! This looks like an episode of IceRoad Truckers. I see that white stuff and the Pucker Factor kicks in! Glad you finally got somewhere safe.

  5. OMG..We're just a week behind you! I was there on June 4th, 2011 and it snowed. Stay Safe