First off, I want to apologize for the inconsistency of my posts the last couple of weeks.  It’s “Spring Break Season” here at June Mountain and I felt the need to take my own unofficial spring break.  Part of my spring break consisted of camping a couple nights at the Saline Valley Hot Springs (part of Death Valley National park).  There aren’t many trees available for hammocks, but we rigged something up to help us beat the sweltering, mind-melting heat of the desert.  (when I find the camera, in a box full of our trail "stuff" crammed in the back of our truck, I will post a picture of our set-up)

I felt revived after my much needed break.  It’s been getting harder to talk about the trail the closer Missy and I are to starting it.  After a year of planning for our hike I’m ready to be hiking rather than talking.  With only two weeks to go before we start in Georgia, a trip to the desert with no Internet, cell service, or too many people has helped motivate me to finish up my last week of work in California,  as well as the last minute prep we have for the trail.  Now to get back on track, I believe there was a question about storms from a couple weeks ago that I have to answer.

What do you do when you run into bad weather, like summer thunderstorms?

Hopefully most of the storms will be like the ones that we experienced on day hikes during our brief interlude in Tennessee; afternoon thunderstorms that help to lift the oppressive blanket of heat and humidity, even if for only a brief reprieve.  Some of our more memorable hikes included hail.  It was exciting running from tree to tree, down the trail, dodging bullets of ice that the sky seemed to aim directly at us.  Although there were a few storms where the proximity of the lightning made us nervous, we fully expect to run into more than a few storms this summer that may require us to hunker down until the tempest calms itself.

When a storm does come through that requires us to wait it out, hopefully we’ll be near enough to a shelter that we can settle down under a roof for a while.  Otherwise, we will probably set-up a tarp (if it isn’t already) and wait out the storm while we listen to the rain drum out a beat on the nylon.  This actually reminds me of a tip I learned in high school.  It’s about preventing a lightning strike while waiting out a storm with lightning in close proximity.  Basically it deals with surface area and how much of your body is touching the ground.

If you happen to be waiting out a storm that has a lot of lightning striking close to you, you want to minimize the amount of surface area your body has in contact with the ground.  What you can do is sit on your sleeping pad with your knees tucked up underneath your chin so that you are sitting in the fetal position.  This should leave only your feet and your butt resting on the pad.  What this does is minimize body contact with the ground, which can conduct a lightning strike right into you.  With less body touching the ground, that’s less ground that can conduct the lightning into you.  As for at night, Lisa, pretty much the same thing applies, except that I hope we set our tarps up right so we don’t have to scramble in the middle of the night to keep rain out.

I enjoy a good rainstorm, especially after living in the high desert for so long.  I’m ready to see some storms, but I know there are going to be those times where it’s been wet non-stop for several days and we’re just going to want to get off the trail for a night so we can dry off.  I’m looking forward to that too.  Huddled up in a hostel or motel, gorging on pizza and beer while we dry out and watch T.V. and the world outside gets saturated.  Hopefully that doesn’t happen too many times, but I will be ready for a pizza and beer day, when those storms come in!

Leave a Reply.