Being from the West Coast, I do not take East Coast mountains seriously. The Adirondacks? Sounds like a piece of furniture you’d find on a cruise ship. Appalachians? Might as well be the name of a donut at a roadside cafe.
Margaret and I entered Vermont from the south and got rained on. We got rained on a lot in Vermont. So after getting shut down by Ben and Jerry, we beat a hasty retreat east to New Hampshire, licking our wounds. Little did we know we were in for one hell of a licking.
We made camp in a friendly-sounding place called Franconia Notch. We pulled out our camp chairs, set up our tent, started a fire and used the facilities–normal Trash Blog life. It was a sunny and warm August evening and all was right with the world. We cooked up our usual mess of beans, cheese, and green peppers and settled in to watch the fleecy clouds scoot through the notch.
I think I was roasting a marshmallow when I first noticed it, or maybe I was smooshing a s’more: the light was sucked out of the sky. Like something out of a high-budget science-fiction film, the mountain peaks pulled the clouds around their not-very-majestic points. The clouds did some things like NASA says the clouds on other planets do. A storm was gathering.
As I said at the beginning: I’m from the west coast. we have foot hills that are taller than these things. I was not afraid. Margaret noted that it looked like it was going to rain. I scoffed, and told her that we had a rain fly. Margaret noted that it was raining. I scoffed, and said it was just a cloud burst. Margaret got up and moved into the tent, under the cover of the rain fly. I scoffed and continued to eat my soggy s’more.
At this point the heavens were ripped asunder and all hell did break loose (ponder the theological implications of that statement if you’re bored). I scoffed meekly and dove into the tent, bringing a minor tidal wave with me.
Margaret was huddled in the very center of the tent, like one of those flood victims perched on the last exposed tip of their roof. It turns out that your snappy rain fly loses some of its efficacy when it is flattened over like a piece of cardboard. In addition, the rain was ricocheting off the ground by this point, an obvious defect of our rain fly being that it was not designed to deflect water that came up from the ground.
I said it was lucky that we had our bath towels with us. Margaret said something that I couldn’t hear because a noise like someone detonating a West Coast sized mountain interrupted. She then ducked out of the tent and fled to the car. Once again I thought of my mountainous roots, and shaking my fist at the sodden tent skin that was being pushed against my nose by the wind, I determined to stick it out.
I’ve never experienced thunder and lightning like this. Imagine some ghastly, sky-sized Emperor Palpatine hovering over you, giggling as he tickles the earth with shocking blue electricity, except substitute the noise of planetary collisions for ‘giggling’ and the hammerblows of Thor for ‘tickles’, and then order a side of tornado wind and another side of deluge-style rain worthy of the first rainbow.
And then it got louder and more serious. I decided to abandon the tent when it was so squished over by the wind that I had to lay prone to avoid suffocation. In the safety of the car, I found Margaret munching on the s’more she had been too chicken to cook. We spent the next three hours trying to take pictures of the Apocalypse. Our pictures did not turn out.
I will leave you with a few pictures that speak to the storm’s aftermath.