The outdoor adventure club faced a real adventure this last weekend during an outing to Pee Wee Falls in Washington state. Our group of ill prepared outdoor enthusiats were planning a fun filled day of BBQ and paddleing on the beautiful river below the falls. This remote location holds deer, moose and bear along with the frequent cougar sighting. A calm, almost lake like river leads a short distance to a stunning waterfall which you could paddle right up to. Nearby ice caverns offer more intensity to the daring.
However calm and serene this site seems on most days it was not apparent this weekend. The first sign that the wilderness had control was the black bear that crossed our path right outside the camp. I definetly felt more fear than I would have had it been a cat. The cougar sightings only hightened the intensity. We had a few moments of reprieve and sunshine to cruise around the camp sites and choose a nice green location on the perimeter of the site. The lovely campground was soon to change to a wild wilderness.
The rain began falling soon after setting up camp so we moved inside my cargo type snowmobile trailer I use for camping. We set up our large cots and made comfortable beds, placed our chairs in front of the fold down loading ramp and enjoyed a dinner of chicken alfredo and noodles. The night was still and cool with rain drumming steadily on the roof. We went to bed soon after the sun set, tired from the days travels and an long day of work.
Nighttime was shaken and shattered by fits and bursts of lightning storms. The rain thundered down on the hard roof of the trailer, frequently interrupted by staccato blasts of thunder. The storms rolled through the valley, each following the last in rapid succession keeping the skies full of light and peals of thunder. We slept assured the roof would keep the rain off and the warmth of the beds giving comfort to those ensconced. Although fear of the storm was clearly evident among our small group we still slept between and sometimes through the the storms.
Morning came as it always does with the promise of new hopes. However this morning was accompanied by a steady slow rain. The day felt on hold as we awaited the days adventures and a chance to see the sun. That hope would die a slow but sure death.
The caves were a great adventure but upon exiting the opening we were struck by a downpour that I cannot describe with the shear volume and power this new storm projected at its victims. We were crushed under the rain and hail in a steady roaring flow from the clouds. We plodded down the path, no thought to finding dry shelter or hope for a lull in this storm. It was clear we were in for whatever the rain had planned. This downpour continues until visibility was virtually wiped away and we had all retreated as deeply into our simple shelters as we could.
The stunning power of these storms made this trip change from fun BBQ with friend to an exciting adventure to stay warm and dry under thunderous clouds that turned day to night. What a charged environment to find ourselves in to enjoy the simple things of warm food, cozy beds and good close friends.