Monday, June 15, 2009

Thunder hike

Now that I've pretty much recovered from surgery and have been cleared for strenuous exercise, yesterday Torsten and I were able to resume our habit of hiking on the weekends. But first, on Saturday, we gave Montana a much-needed bath (her least favorite thing ever). This will become relevant in a minute, but in the meantime, check out this adorable video of her drying herself off post-bath. Unfortunately we didn't catch the part where we let her off the leash after her bath and she sprinted straight for the towels and threw herself on them, but it's still pretty cute.

So then, as I said, yesterday we went for a hike. I absolutely love that we live so close to so many gorgeous hikes. I can't believe how close we are to the foothills and the mountains themselves. This particular hike was only a 30-minute drive from our house, straight down basically just one road. And absolutely gorgeous.

It was a nice, sunny day.

Note Torsten's hat and sunglasses. And the dog squinting. Because it was SUNNY.

We left early, because recently we've had thunderstorms every afternoon at around five, and we wanted to hike while the weather was still nice. The sky was clear and the day was sunny and cool. The hike that we took was about three miles long with only one really steep stretch, so a pretty mild way to ease back in to the hiking thing. We took lots of photos of the lovely weather (full set here).

See? The sky is STILL BLUE.

As we were trekking up the steepest part of the hike, we noticed clouds gathering, and by the time we reached the top, a thunderstorm had started. Luckily there was a covered lookout area, so we headed there to wait out the storm and attempt to take pictures of the lightning. Torsten actually succeeded:

Note the DRASTIC CHANGE in sky color.

After a few minutes, the rain died down, so we cheerfully said to ourselves that the worst was over, and headed back down the trail.

Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaa. About one or two tenths of a mile from the lookout, the REAL storm hit. The wind picked up, the temperature plunged at LEAST 20 degrees, and it started POURING and also hailing. We sprinted for a nearby covered bench, hoping for shelter, but unfortunately the rain was blowing sideways so the roof didn't really help. And we could hear tornado sirens going off nearby, which... well, not so reassuring, you know?

We were both in jeans and t-shirts, and totally soaked, and freezing cold, so we huddled together in an attempt to stay warm and keep our fronts dry, while the poor dog sat all hunched with her head down and her ears drooping, waiting for the torture to stop and occasionally looking at us, probably to tell us that she did NOT appreciate being dragged into those conditions.

When the hail stopped, we gave up on waiting out the rain and just walked the rest of the way in the downpour. It was freezing and we were soaked, but we did feel a bit better when we hit the wide part of the trail and a park ranger drove by. He stopped to ask us if we were okay, and when we said we were, he asked if we'd seen anyone in trouble further up the trail. We said no, but we hadn't been far when the storm started, so he headed further up the trail to check for hikers having trouble.

We slogged through mud and puddles for the last half mile before finally arriving back at the parking lot. Our poor, freshly cleaned white dog was half covered with mud, which means she'll need another bath shortly. And, of course, literally the second we stepped foot onto the pavement, the rain stopped. Seriously. Which, at least, afforded us the opportunity to pull the camera back out:

Note the sunglasses on my head. SO USEFUL.

Also, when we had arrived at the trailhead in the car, we were able to get the very last parking spot when someone happened to pull away. And when we got back to the parking lot, there were only like three cars left. What I want to know is, how in the hell did everyone else know there was going to be a storm? We weren't that far from the trailhead when it started and we still got caught in it. How did everyone else manage to escape the misery?

However, the hike WAS beautiful, and good exercise, and we didn't regret going on it or anything. Besides, the hot shower I took when we got home was pretty much the best thing ever.


  1. Smokey reacts the same way after a shower; runs for the towels, nose in, rolling around. It's adorable!

    Great job on the hike. You look good and you are obviously feeling better too. Way to go Jess! If you are ever back in the DC area, we have to get toether :)

  2. That video was so cute!

    I would be terrified to be caught out in a storm! Yikes!! Glad you just got wet. :)

  3. Montana rolling in the towels was adorable.

    Man, that weather turned quick! Glad you guys were OK. And great shot by Torsten of the lightning.

    Jason & I walked to a nearby movie theater a few years ago and when the movie was over, we realized it was pouring. Our apartment was definitely within walking distance, but man, we were soaked. And yes, the hot shower afterward was faaaaantastic.

  4. Aww cute! My pup loves to get a towel rub down when she comes in from the rain =)

  5. she's so proud of herself at the end of her towel drying. too cute!

  6. We did the exact same thing yesterday (went hiking early to try to avoid the t-storm, got caught in the t-storm with hail, got soaked to the skin). The storm was a lot earlier than we counted on!

  7. Oh yuck, that sucks to be stranded during a storm. Plus, hail! Ouch! THe weather is so f'ed up this year for some reason.

  8. That's an awesome pic of the lightning! It's my biggest CO fear...more than mountain lions, bears, snakes, weirdos...anything! Being stuck outside in a storm is pretty much the scariest thing ever!

  9. Oh my gosh, I love how she looks at you smiling and tail wagging when she is done drying off. SO adorable.

  10. Sometimes I try to "forget" my sunglasses on a hike--you know, so it will be blindingly sunny the whole time.

    This occasionally works.

  11. She's all, Get the clean off of me, please!

    I look at the weather on my phone (it has a moving map) when I do stuff like that. Glad you guys were ok!

    P.S. Thanks for the sweet words on my post. It's been hard, but I appreciate all the support. Virtual and otherwise.

  12. Oh man! Of course it stopped raining as soon as you got to the parking lot! Hee hee. I wish I lived around trails and views like that!

  13. I know how absolutely bizarre this sounds, but I'm a little jealous. I LOVE getting caught in the rain. When I don't have to be at work or a meeting or a dinner or something that requires me to look presentable, of course.

  14. The LG loves the video!

    That sucks about the rain and the sirens - ohmycrap I would've been freaking out! Glad that you only ended up soaked and not hurt of anything. Otherwise, it sounds like a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.

    Great lightning picture too!

  15. First - that video of Montana is ADORABLE. I already love that dog. So. Freakin'. Cute.

    Second - welcome to Rocky Mountain weather!! Where you must pack for any occasion just to go the grocery store and back.

  16. Great pictures. Oh hiking sounds fun. FYI, LOVE your new haircut. Looks great.

  17. The landscape is gorgeous. Your dog is precious. What more could you want from life?

  18. I'm so jealous that you live so close to the mountains that hiking can just be a part of your routine. In the summer I go hiking a couple of times a week, but it seems like it takes so much planning and driving!

  19. If this is inappropriate feel free to delete it:

    You look fantastic, and I can SO tell that you lost weight! :)