Having clambered through Arches National Park (wow) and Canyonlands NP (wow wow) in breathtakingly gorgeous weather we were starting to get cocky. Jupiter, Thor, Mother Nature- they were all on our side, clearing the skies and allowing for sunny, albeit chilly weather. We scampered around in our sweatshirts, admiring some of Utah's most gorgeous sights and sounds, climbing up into stone arches formed by millions of years of erosion and wandering canyon rims peering into vast landscapes of unearthly shapes and colors. So when we left our nifty little motel in Moab, espresso goodness in our spoiled little hands, and headed up into the mountains over Capitol Reef NP, we were expecting the beautiful drive into Bryce Canyon NP the Lonely Planet (LP) had described on Highway 12.
Capitol Reef was an added bonus as far as driving scenery was concerned, as we were dwarfed by huge sandstone cliffs on small roads winding through. It had started raining slightly at this point, but this did nothing but enliven what we were driving past- the desert and its counterparts tend to become even more intense when wet. By the time we hit Dixie National Forest, it had started to sleet, and then finally, snow. The scenery changed dramatically from wet but visible earth to a white blanket with dainty little snowflakes flouncing around. I suppose at this point it would be fair to mention that I had expressed a small desire to see snow that very morning, and so when it started falling I initially got really excited (Daniel seceretly did too). The inner children in us, oh-so-hard-to-find, ahem, forced us out of the car numerous times to play around in the snow and pelt each other and other things with snowballs, so much fun! We climbed and climbed up into the mountains, hardly noticing the slightly menacing color the sky was starting to turn in our rearview mirror. Up and up, and the roads were getting whiter and whiter. The snowdrifts and piles on the side of the road were starting to become higher than us, and it was starting to snow more heavily. Not another soul was on the road, but in Utah that doesn't necessarily mean anything. When we did see another car we decided to stop it and ask for advice on driving in the weather- we are but Dutchies, used to driving on flat, well-salted roads after all, and had no snow chains. The guy told us that as long as we didn't slip, we would be OK. By 9000 ft. (2750 m), our visibility was down to about half a meter, the roads were covered in icy snow and we were slipping like nobody's business. After a long think, we decided to head back- we had no idea how far away the town we were headed for was, and it was even higher so the chances of more snow were certain. A bit of a hairy drive later, we arrived back in the town (that would be street), and stopped to ask for advice and directions in a gas station. Turns out we made the right decision- there was a big storm heading over the pass we had tried to take, and it was even making the interstates hard to use as we later found out. So we ended up staying in Utah's most stunning shithole, Beaver, and watched as the snow came down mercilessly, hoping we weren't going to have to stay there. By the next morning it was back to blue skies and sun, and the icicles were melting off of the car as we pondered our next move. We ended up driving to Zion, which we saw in a meter of snow and ice in the North, and then in beaming spring sun and warmth in the South. This place makes no sense.