When we crawled in the tent around midnight there was no sign of snow but we woke up to several inches of it. This is when Jason remembered that halos around the moon (such as the one we had seen around midnight) reliably forecast precipitation. This much snow in the Moab Desert was shocking and somewhat disturbing. Slickrock provides amazing traction when dry, but it’s incredibly slippery and dangerous when wet. We had hiked 7 miles in and out of canyons to get to our campsite in Chesler Park, mostly on slickrock trails. This meant we had two options: stay and wait for the snow to melt or find an alternate route back to the parking lot. We opted for the latter, hiking 15 miles in snow along jeep trails through the desert. It was the most exhausting hike of the year for me. The worst part was at the end, some 10 hours later when we found ourselves stuck on a slickrock cliff roughly 100 feet above the ground and within sight of the car. It was completely dark by then and the temperature had dropped to around 15 degrees. We were exhausted, hungry and freezing, but managed to keep good spirits and find a safe route down the cliff. Soon we were back in Moab drinking pints at the local brewery, reviewing our photos, and marveling at the security of banal comforts often taken for granted.

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