It's too early...for winter, that is. We've had snow on Halloween various years, but this year it was rain that stopped right in time for trick-or-treaters to begin their fun evening. The following week, the weather turned cold with lows in the 20's at night and highs in the 40's during the day. We knew that elevations above 4000 feet had snow, but it wasn't on the valley floor yet. It was my idea to take a drive at 2 in the afternoon, thinking we would drive into the mountains a short distance and then go back home. Just 13 miles west and then north from home on Hwy 204 over the Blue Mountains is Summit Road, #31--"National Forest Primary Road (suitable for passenger cars)", according to the Umatilla National Forest map. The road runs south in the mountains ...the range that includes Mt. Emily, a 6000+ mountain that dominates the west side of the Grande Ronde Valley. Eventually, the road turns southwest and finally exits at I-84, several miles out of La Grande.
"Suitable for passenger cars" is a little generous; I've seen cars up on Mt. Emily, but we always drive a pickup. It didn't take long to find snow; in fact, we were in snow on Tollgate before we turned off of 204. But it's also the end of elk season, so the main road and the spur roads have all been traveled. There were campers and tents in various locations that are in view of the road. Our "short drive" turned into "the whole enchilada." Above 4000 feet, there was snow and it was cold. Our "short drive" turned into 3 hours, extended partially by stops for photos. At the end, I was really happy that we had made the trip. No doubt, it won't be long before the Summit Road will be snowed in, and will be accessible only to snowmobiles.