Trip date: Dec 21, 2017
Well, it turned out to snow much more than expected. Luckily I'd brought my winter tent which was able to handle the heavy snow loading without caving in. Getting much more snow than predicted seems to be becoming a trend with me...Luckily I took some advice K gave me to be "over prepared" in case the "worst case scenario actually happens. It definitely saved my butt this time.
I was camped in the Willow Flat Campground which is in the Island in the Sky District of the park. This region is formed by the intersection of the Colorado and Green Rivers and forms a region elevated ~1000 feet above surrounding regions to the south. The NPS page about the area is here. You can download a pdf of the map from the park service below.
Island in the Sky gets the majority of the parks visitors due it's proximity to Arches National Park and Moab. The scenery was supposedly jaw dropping but I wasn't seeing much of anything but snow. I had really only planned on spending a day in this region. My primary objective in the park was a quick backpacking trip in the Needles District.
My neighbors in the campground began to clear out around 9am (for some reason most people don't like camping in the snow...). I talked to a guy who had been told that they were planning on plowing the roads this afternoon. I knew that I couldn't get out without the roads being plowed (I have a Honda Accord--not exactly an all terrain vehicle) so I decided I'd just do some exploring in the deep snow. Luckily I had all my winter gear with me.
I walked down to the Green River Overlook thinking the skies would clear any minute and I'd see these amazing canyons this place was named after.
After this I just turned around and started up the road and eventually turned back south around Grand View Point.
I kept thinking I'd see the plows any minute but they never did. It looked like I'd be stuck there another night. From communication with my family I learned that it was supposed to get down to 10F that night. Luckily I had a car full of clothes and two sleeping bags (I stayed warm the whole night).