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BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — They saw a moose, and they heard coyotes.
But the biggest surprise for the Lewis family of East Millcreek came Sunday morning, when they awoke to find their tents covered in snow.
"I kind of like camping like this," Geoffrey Lewis said at the Spruces campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon. "I don't know if anyone else does, though."
Lewis was clearly the most chipper member of the group Sunday, chopping wood and building a fire in the still- falling snow while his parents, sister, wife and two daughters finished their breakfast under the shelter of a tent.
His wife, Aubrey, groaned when asked about her reaction to the snow.
"But my husband was perked up and out here making a fire, bright eyed and bushy tailed because of the snow," she said.
Campground officials said about 30 people remained there Sunday morning, following heavy rains Friday and unexpected snow Saturday night. By Sunday afternoon, there was less than an inch of snow on the ground.
We got a little more snow than we thought we'd have, so we're a little disappointed about that. But we're still having a good time.
–- Nephi Lewis
The Lewis party dwindled from 13 to seven between Friday and Sunday morning. Geoffrey Lewis' brother left about 1 a.m. with his wife and two young children — a 2-year-old and a 4-month-old — when the snow caused their tent to partially collapse.
The tent poles slipped because the ground was so wet, Lewis' father, Nephi, explained, causing the tent to sag and fill with snow.
"We got a little more snow than we thought we'd have," Nephi Lewis said, "so we're a little disappointed about that. But we're still having a good time."
The grownups chatted and laughed around the table Sunday afternoon, while youngsters Aubrianne, 14, Brynlie, 9, and Chloe, 4, stuck out their tongues to catch snowflakes.
"We can make snowmans," Chloe announced, "but we have to make little snowmans."
"We should have a snowball fight," added Brynlie.
Nephi Lewis said the camping trip reminds him of a previous family outing to Mirror Lake for Labor Day weekend in 2006. It snowed then, too.
"These are the ones you always remember," he said.
The Lewis family said they planned to wait out the snow Sunday in anticipation of weather in the mid-60s in the canyon Monday. Those who left the party during the rough weather are expected to rejoin the group.
In the meantime, Aubrey Lewis said they planned to "sit by the fire and relax" and enjoy "being up here in the woods, just getting away from the city and spending time with each other."
Despite the snow, she said, "this has been fun."
"Anytime you're not working, it's a good time," Geoffrey Lewis added.
Contributing: Sandra Yi