"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Returning to Cathedral Gorge in the Winter

Panaca, Nevada
Cathedral Gorge State Park 

When we were here in 2022, it was Fall but sunny and very warm.
We knew it was going to be cooler being here in February, but we sure weren't expecting...
SNOW.  And lot's of it!  We knew the weather wasn't going to be favorable most of our stay here, but we chose to go anyway.  Nothing wrong with some quiet down time.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
It started snowing as we got to the pass, about 6,000+ feet.  Just another 1/2 hour or so to go.  The snow was light so no worries.  The rest of the week was projected to just have a bit of snow overnight 2 or 3 times.  It turned out that it snowed almost every night we were there and a couple of times most of the day too!  Highs were low 40s, nights mostly low 20s with a couple of upper teens.
Our first night Angie made a yummy beef stew which was just perfect for these cold temps.
We had our water tanks full so no hoses connected.  It snowed that first night and we woke up to this.  No hiking so we just enjoyed a quiet time in our own trailers and had most dinners together.
Rick & Angie's rig next door.
When we woke up we were surprised just how much snow had fallen. Not just in inch or two.  It was more like 6 inches.

With the roads not plowed we just kept our fireplace on and heaters running.  Toasty warm inside.

The next morning they did plow (as well as the next) so we decided to take a drive into the town of Pioche.

Only us a couple of vans and this camper at the far end.  We kept joking that this is practice for Alaska.  We both have Arctic Foxes as well to bring to Alaska so we loved seeing this AF at the other end of the loop.
As it turned out, no kayaking either.  It snowed so much and was so cold we only got 1 hike in and a couple of day drives.

We made a couple of rookie mistakes by running our electric heaters instead of the furnace at night and had not once, but twice, frozen our pipes in the morning.  But just for a bit.
The roads were in great shape when we drove about 1/2 north to Pioche.  We wanted to check out the hotel Overland Hotel for Super Bowl options.  Since this cold weather pattern would be sticking around for quite a while we decided to cancel our visit to Hole in the Wall and just stay here.  So we needed somewhere to watch the game.  Boy they got quite a bit of snow in Pioche.  They were still piling it up when we got here.

We aren't the only ones feeling the chil.
We sat inside and had some Bloody Mary's and talked to the bartender about the game.
When it was time to pay our bill and leave the bartender said, "Cody took care of your bill, you're good to go."  We said thank you to Cody at the end of the bar and he said "No problem.  Anyone brave enough to come visit our little town in this sh*tty weather deserves a cocktail!".  It was very nice of him.  We left the bartender a nice tip and gave her extra to buy him and his group some shots.  You gotta love small town folk!
We had a nice lunch across the road and had planned to show Rick and Angie around all the cute things in Pioche.  Well, they were either covered in snow or unaccessable with the unplowed roads.
Just outside of town we looked at the sandstone "monuments" that were smack in the middle of Panaca.  Well just this one.  The road to see the Teapot was sloppy mud so we skipped that and went to the hot springs.

Rick feeling the temperature of the water.  It was warm, but yucky and the area not so clean so we just walked around it and headed back home.
We passed the Ass Pen Ranch.
The next morning was sunny so we thought about taking the long, all day loop drive that would take us to a couple of other state parks and lakes.  We had a nice breakfast in Caliente at the Side Car, then headed out.  It's a pretty drive we enjoyed when we were here last with Lee & Trace.  You can see that on THIS POST.
We only made it to the first one, Kershaw-Ryan as it was just outside of town and paved.  Still too much snow to hike or see anything.
We tried to go to another on a shorter loop, but the dirt road quickly got slick with snow and thick mud so back to camp we went. 
Lucky for us the weather cleared and on our last day we were able to hike the caves and slots.

Steve squeezing through one of the narrowest slots.

There was still some run-off, mud, snow and ice but we were able to access most of them.  We didn't rock climb to any of the caves though as it was much too slippery.

This one breaks off in two different directions and is one of the longest.
The patterns of ice, snow and mud made pretty patterns on the ground.

We repeated this fun pic that we first did with Lee and Trace.

After our slot hiking we went back to the trailers and were able to watch the Super Bowl.
It was a relaxing time and turned out very enjoyable, even with all the snow.  We did have to get on the roofs to brush off the heavy stuff and the snow that turned into thick ice on the toppers.  Both of us had a first time experience at the dump station.  You guessed it.  Frozen valves and pipes.  We got a little emptied by spraying the water hose on it but the rest we left for our next destination.
On to warmer climates.


  1. The snow sure adds a different perspective, doesn't it? Glad to hear there was no real damage from the frozen pipes. Hope you find someplace a bit warmer!

    1. It was beautiful in the snow too. We were just bummed to miss out on a couple of the nice hikes and drives.

  2. What a beautiful adventure in the snow! We spend a lot of time in the sunny and dry so those "different" landscapes are wonderful. And you get to move on when you've had enough :-) Fun slots, but even the pics had me catching my breath.

    1. We have enjoyed seeing various places that most don’t see in the snow too.


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