Continental Divide Trail – Day 24 (26 miles)
I packed up camp today in 6 minutes! Was this planned? No, but I woke up to rain splattering me so it was critical. The storm tricked me, at around 9 am and after rain and hail, the clouds blew out only to be replaced by an even more intense storm cell/front.
This storm turned out to be the theme for the day as it hung around until 7 pm.
This next cell had a lot of lightning. I was in dense tree cover but near the top of a ridge. I felt safe for a couple of hours until the previously distant lightning moved right over my head. I backed out of there and headed straight down. I then put my groundsheet over me and waited for it to move off. Lightning crackling overhead is not one of the fun things on trail! It is damn scary. I think it is a toss-up for me about being more terrified of lightning or mosquitoes.
The lightning moved away and I pushed on. Unfortunately, it was not for long until the lightning came back in force. By this stage, I was near a highway and saw a lean-to that I used to wait it out.
The storm just continued. I was cold and decided I would stay until conditions would improve. So I got my pad and sleeping quilt out. After a couple of hours watching the sky and watching the hail from a dry spot, two other hikers wandered in.
One was Thru Hiking and the other was joining her for a week. We talked for almost 2 hours until the sky began to brighten. They headed off and I packed up. For the second unfortunate of the day, the storm was not over. There was heavy rain and hail, but I was lucky with only a few lightning strikes for the rest of the day.
I never passed the other hikers and lost their footprints at some stage. Maybe they took the wrong path? Anyway, I suspected it would be really cold overnight once the clouds fully cleared, so I kept walking until I found the warmest location I could. It was under some heavy tree cover and on top of a solid layer of duff. I set up my hexamid for a bit more warmth and to keep the drops of water that the trees have retained from falling on me.