Isabella is still in Estes Park. This time, she is not being detained by cattle but by a three-day long snow event.
“I never spent a more fearful night than two nights ago, alone in my cabin in the storm, with the roof lifting, the mud cracking and coming off, and the fine snow hissing through the chinks between the logs, while splittings and breakings of dead branches, wind wrung and snow laden, went on incessantly, with screeching, howlings, thunder and lightning, and many unfamiliar sounds besides.”*
Overnight, another foot of snow fell, which blocks her in her cabin. She goes to sleep with six blankets and a heavy sheet over her face, only to be woken up in the middle of the night “by the cabin being shifted from underneath by the wind, and the sheet frozen to my lips…Getting up to investigate matters, I found the floor some inches deep in parts with fine snow, and a gust of needle-like snow stung my face. The bucket of water was solid ice.”
At sunrise, some of the men come to see if she’s alive and, if so, to dig a path from her cabin to the main house. The main house has a drift on one side that reaches the roof and snow is blowing in through the gaps in the logs so quickly that one of the men is shoveling it.
On her way back to her cabin, the wind lifts her off of her feet and deposits her in a drift, scattering her writing book, some letters, and a photograph. Only the book is later found.
Regardless, “nature is grand under this new aspect.”
* Confession: I love snowstorms like this, if only because they give me a reason to cocoon inside. However, I have a well-insulated house and highly efficient heating so …