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Thread: Lessons from Mt. Tom

  1. #21
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    Trish, I'm glad your adventure ended safely for y'all.

    One thing to take note of: that storm Saturday Morning literally BLEW UP in place. It wasn't tracked on any weather radar, it didn't move in from somewhere else, it HAPPENED right overhead. BAM! Birth of a storm.

    I was working at Mt Washington that day, and we started EARLY for the bike race. MW summit was in the clear at 6 AM, and stayed in the clear for some time. The Top Notch ( elite group) start was 8:40 AM and the first finisher's time was 54 minutes 57 seconds, and he finished in clear weather/sunshine with no precip. So make that just about 9:30....... still in the clear looking like nice day.

    By 9:45 summit race- support staff was reporting pelting rain, 5 minutes later that was pelting rain mixed with hail, and by 10:05 AM Road Crew was reporting full-on pea sized hail, no rain, with rapid ground coverage above 5000'. At the base we were just beginning to see the big raindrops that foretell "dumpage".

    Auto Road Base was monitoring 3 weather radar views and in contact with MWOBS, and the only testimony to local bad weather was < in person witness accounts>. Nothing showed, anywhere, unless you were standing in it.

    I made a comment to a co-worker about the sudden, severe hail at the summit, something to the effect of " OHHH s*it, that kind of upper level convection this early in the morning, it is gonna get noisy, REAL fast". Next thing we knew, lightning was striking close by, and we wound up getting roundly pasted by something that just birthed itself over our heads. Your heads just were included by proximity.


    What is my point?

    Saturday morning's storm exactly profiled the capriciousness of mountain weather. That IS the kind of weather that is dangerous, you can't see it coming or track its route. It happens. On TOP of you~!


    I hope you and the kids don't dwell on the scary stuff. I think you handled the situation admirably, and so did they. Alex may have been stressed with Sage while you bolted up-trail and back for the pack, but trust comes from those kinds of situations. Alex gets a huge BIG SISTER star from me for standing tall and being there for Sage while you went back up.

    I know your family dynamics are being sifted and remixed in light of the hike. It is a good thing to exemplify learn and change by challenge, but only you can decide if Sage is <ready to learn> or < ready for challenge>.


    Breeze

  2. #22
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    Hi Breeze,

    Thanks for the post. I feel somewhat better knowing the storm birthed itself right nearby, and that it wasn't tracked or predicted. Somehow that comforts me.

    The most traumatic thing for Sage was indeed being left while I bolted for that pack. In retrospect, I would have done the same thing all over again (leaving the pack, getting them down, then racing back for the pack). But Sage was affected by it and has had nightmares. She's been sleeping with me since then. During the day she's fine, but at night she is troubled. I'm sure I will have many more conversations with her about those very long minutes as she grows and is better able to converse with me.

    The good thing is, they both want to keep hiking. The experience did nothing to put either of them off of the trail. They just do NOT want to be outside (even in our own backyard) if they can hear thunder, ever again.

    Regarding Alex, she's a tough kid and an amazing hiker for her age. Both my girls rock. Of course, I'm not biased at all.
    Last edited by TrishandAlex; 08-19-2008 at 09:01 PM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrishandAlex View Post
    The good thing is, they both want to keep hiking. The experience did nothing to put either of them off of the trail. They just do NOT want to be outside (even in our own backyard) if they can hear thunder, ever again.
    That's really great. When I was a little guy something very similar occurred during a hike my dad took us up on Mt Jefferson. I still remember the air sizzling and how at the mercy of the elements one felt. But it never, ever dissuaded any of us from hiking again. Its one heck of a momento, that's for sure.
    "LIVE FREE OR DIE...DEATH IS NOT THE WORST OF ALL EVILS." Gen. John Stark. "by reason of much foule weather and Extreme Bad Woods to travel in..." From the letter of my Great Uncle, Samuel Willard (accompanied by my grandfather Henry), to Governor Dummer on August 16, 1725, explaining the reason for his return, being instructed to "range all the country", of the Wawobadenik (White Mountains) July 19-August 16, 1725. I am a 13th generation New Englander and proud of it.

  4. #24
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    A little late with the reply, but we are just getting started with this. My son Hunter and I were out on the Avalon Trail heading for Avalon and Field when we passed you at one of the stream crossings. You were having fun getting your gang across. Hunter and I were on a day hike the day before I dropped him off at Camp Dodge to join the Mount Washington Teen Spike Trail Crew for the week.

    As you know this was a strange day of weather to say the least. We were just below the summit of Mt. Avalon when the first round of thunder was heard. For a little background, Hunter and I have a few hundred miles of White Mountain Hiking experience under our belts, but this day was different. The thunder did not sound that close. Hunter motioned to me he thought it was over Mount Webster but we couldn't get a read on it. The second round came in and we just looked at each other and began to decend. We could have just as easily continued toward Mount Field. I give my son a lot of credit for understanding that it was a good idea to head down even if a storm never hit.

    But as you know this one did. We arrived at The Highland Center just as the hail began to hit. The first thing we thought of was all the hikers above that may be in the storm. We were very lucky, as the day could have easily gone the other way. That amount of lightning got my attention.

    We are so glad that you and your kids are O.K. You did great!

    This was not a normal storm, especially since it hit before lunch time.

    You could be the most experienced hiker in the world and still get caught in that one.

    Thanks for sharing that very important moment with us. We are all still learning.
    Doug


    Charter Member of The J. Rayner Edmands Fan Club






    Seek the Peak 2012: http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040

  5. #25
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    Stets,

    You are a very sweet man to chime in with this. I feel a lot less guilty/bad mother-ish.

    I appreciate your take on this, and it was lovely meeting you at the stream crossing.

  6. #26
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    I'm late too. Glad to hear all are OK. I grew up skiing and hiking MT Tom and the area is thunder storm prone for sure.
    I wouldn't feel bad everyone has to make decisions. Chalk it up as experience.
    Its part of the adventure.

  7. #27
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    Wow, you're giving me flashbacks of a foot patrol along the Czech border that went horribly awry in a similar manner. It was an evening/night patrol and just as it started, the weather became our biggest threat. Torrential rain, lightning, pitch blackness, etc. I was leading a bunch of adult soldiers and it was tough going. I can imagine how tough it was with two scared kids. You done good getting them down safely. And I'm glad they see it as a lesson for the future and not the end of hiking altogether.
    Mark
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  8. #28
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    Yes, we are glad that everyone is ok. Everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect. Just glad you are able to learn from your mistakes.
    Lots of hugs for you and the kids hun!!
    Diane
    Summit Club Member


    Give me the outdoors, and I will show you the world!!

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