November 1, 2013

The Perfect Storm Part 2 of 5

We continued on down the mountain another five minutes or so when we noticed a cloud we had not previously seen. This cloud was white and seemed to be coming out of the mouth of the canyon. Above the white cloud was an ominous black cloud. It looked as if the black cloud was pushing the white cloud out from underneath it. When Andy tells the story he compares it to an Oreo and when you push the two black cookies together the cream comes out. That is essentially what these clouds looked like. The only difference between these clouds and the Oreo cookies is how fast the clouds were moving.

From the time we first saw the cloud to when it reached us it was less than a minute. That cloud was moving so fast it was scary. It looked like something that would have come out of a movie. We tried to run but quickly realized that we could not out run the cloud and it was probably not safe to be running along a cliff.

The cloud came barreling up the mountain and hit us fast and hard. We would guess that the wind was at least 100 miles an hour where we were standing. We were instantly frozen and our visibility was gone, we could not see 10 feet in front of us. Directly in front of us, rocks were tumbling off the cliff face and dirt and smaller rocks were blowing up into the air.

We managed to make our way around the Chimney fairly quickly and were able to put on our windbreaker jackets. It was less windy on this side of the mountain but we still had to help each other put on our jackets or they would have blown away.

About the time we got our jackets on it started to rain and hail really hard. Water instantly started cascading down the rock faces. The hail was about the size of a mans finger nails and it hurt. Each time we got hit it stung really bad.

We decided right then that we needed to get down the Chimney and across the Saddle. Andy led the way and I followed him. Every time he would take a step, I would put my foot where his had been.

About this time, the thunder and lightening started and we were in the lightening cloud. I started to freak out because Andy has been hit my lightening before (that's a story for another day) and so his chances of being hit again are a lot higher. The lightening was all around us and flashed every few seconds. The lightening was both pink and white and would flash horizontally instead of vertically.

We got lost a few times but somehow managed to make it safely down the Chimney and across the Saddle. It is a miracle that we did not walk off a cliff with how fast we were moving, we made it down the Chimney in less time than it took us to go up it.

After we crossed the Saddle we found a cliff face that jutted out about a foot or so. Andy noticed this cliff face on the way up and we decided it would be best to sit under it and wait out the storm.