I don’t know about you, but I love a good storm. Every year, we travel into one of the great storm epicenters of the continental U.S., the Colorado Plateau. One storm in particular comes to mind, our first time there together. My first trip to Moab, in August of 2009.
We were very ambitious on this first trip and Devon & I were determined to cover a ton of ground. We actually drove through seven states and hit up dozens of cities where we witnessed beautiful skies and amazing weather. But, it is in the Colorado Plateau where we came in contact with, hands down, the best storm either of us had ever experienced. The Colorado Plateau is a section of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah, primarily located around the Four Corners.
Up to this point in my lifetime, I was witness to only a handful of storms. The same cannot be said of Devon. She was raised on a tiny island in Howe Sound, renowned for its storm system. Devon learned from her parents to watch the sky and listen to the news for incoming storm fronts, and then prepare for them. Her power would get knocked out for up to a week at a time, before it was restored. Living on the mainland, I never dealt with anything like that. So, I like to call her the ‘human barometer’. She’s a self-professed weather geek. In fact, she’s a news junkie. She can be in another room, away from the TV, and name the newscaster and the program. I tease her that I’ll have newscaster trading cards made up for her so she can trade them with herself.
So when Devon tells me that she sees a storm moving in, I listen to her. She’s great to have with you on road trips.
In the middle of our trip, under the Utes mountain range, we ran into one of the biggest storms brewing that I had ever witnessed. From experience, we both know to watch the locals in these situations. If they’re outside playing with their kids or washing their vehicles. Not to worry. However, if you don’t see very many people around, that’s a good indication that you should seek shelter. In this instance, it was a mixed bag of nuts. Apparently, storms are so common in these neck of the woods that people don’t run and hide. They just deal.
After seeing a few lightning bolts and dark clouds hung up in the mountains, we both knew that it was only a matter of time before the inclement weather would reach us in Moab. We were drained from a long day of driving and hiking, so we thought it a good idea to hit the hot tub to soak our bones for a while. Night had fallen and we could hear thunder in the distance. We enjoyed the abandoned pool for about a half an hour before we saw our first strike of lightning. We remembered to bring our camera with us to the pool and we were making one of our signature ‘mockumentaries’, when we heard humongous cracks of thunder coming from the southeast corner of the state, near Monticello. I’ve never heard such intense rumbling from thunder before. Needless to say, we were both impressed.
We started idly chatting about storm facts and in the most random of ways, I tell Devon that women are four times more likely to be struck by lightning than men. We both chuckle about this because, really, what are the odds? Then I mention, while we’re lounging in the hot tub, that water is a superb conduit. Devon laughs nervously and says, “It’s like we’re tempting it.” Ya think? But it was the last nugget of wisdom that finally got us up out of the water. I said what was more attractive to the lightning was the re-bar in the concrete form under the pool. That did it. We were out and toweling off. Devon was still videoing the storm, when we stopped to try and catch a bolt… then… CRACK! A gigantic strike seemingly right in front of us. That was enough to spook us and we took off running up to our room. Have you ever tried to run across tiled floor with sopping wet feet? I’m surprised we didn’t bail.
As fast as we can, we’re back in our room and drying off so we can sit down and watch the storm outside. Devon started a new video and we were trying to capture some photos of the lightning, when another massive strike hits close by. Since we were trying to keep the videos ‘family friendly’, Devon was coming up with some rather creative expletives. When the next bolt hits, she shouts, “Holy… crap monkeys!” Pure gold.
We hunkered down and watched the light show outside of our window for about an hour. Devon found a setting on the camera that takes nine progressive pictures a frame. We ended up with a few grainy stills of some of the lightning. And then, just like that, it was over. Epic. It was nearly impossible to come down from that excitement and fall asleep.
We spent the rest of our trip talking about this storm and watching the videos. Truly a marvel to behold. Every time we visit Moab, we both hope that we’ll run into another nasty storm. I’d like it to last longer so we could document more of it.
We aren’t the type of people to run from unruly weather, on the contrary, we’re the ones who run toward it.