Leave a Comment
Updated on June 4, 2017
Thunderstorm Run! I’m saturated right now. My phone is saturated too, so I’ll keep this short. I had an incredible run during a very rare thunderstorm. The storm hit around 4:30am and woke me up. I couldn’t pass on it even though it was a bit scary at times. Getting struck by lightning is not something I ever want to experience. As I headed out on the Bluff trails at Montana de Oro, a ranger was pulling into the parking area. I was worried that he would tell me I couldn’t head out, so I quickly ran away. The lightning was frequent, but it seemed to be a few miles away. I figured my best bet would be to get off the bluff trails, where I was the tallest point around, to the Coon Creek Canyon. I think it is much safer during a thunderstorm in a canyon since lighting is always trying to close the circuit with the nearest possible ground (in the electrical sense rather than the terrestrial sense). In a canyon, the nearest possible ground is always up on one of the ridges or at the top of a tree. It’s not me. Although there were some very loud bolts, I felt safe most of the time. The rest of the time was just fear in my head; fear that the statistics would fail me. I’ve have had some past experience with lightning when climbing in the Sierras. Specifically, I started a climb of Mt. Gould in the Eastern Sierras under a clear blue sky. A few hours later, just seconds after stepping foot on the 13,005 ft. summit, the sky was filled with grey, and the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard in my life struck. The hair on my hairs started to stand up. I ran down that scree slope as fast as I could. It felt like a life-or-death situation. When I later reached treeline again, I ran into an older guy that made the comment about the lightning, “Oh, you probably couldn’t get stuck even if you tried.” He may be right, but I’m not going to take my chances after the lighting strike stories I have read. Ever since then, I have been much more fearful of lightning. Maybe too much. …Or maybe not enough being that I still head out for trail runs during a lightning storm. Today’s storm was courtesy of Tropical Storm Depression Dolores. It was raining the entire time. I ran back on Coon Creek trail as far as it goes to a very small and dying redwood grove before I turned around. I only saw two people the entire time right at the end of my run along the bluff trails. They gave me a look as I passed like the understand why we’re out there. We’re out there to experience life. Quite an incredible day in the life today. When I got back to my car, I got the exact opposite look from a couple watching the storm from their parked car. It made me smile.