THUNDERSTORMS AND LIGHTENING
CDT Day 91: 24 miles/38.4km
CDT SOBO Mile 767.6 – 791.6
Tuesday July 16, 2019
We were on a ridge just as the suns rays started to peak over the horizon. It was cold and very still, there was no wind. The morning was overcast and cool, with thunderstorms predicted through the day. Birds were twittering, there were no mosquitos, it was a perfect start to the day.
By the time we reached Lake Morrison 6 miles away, two rain showers lasted just long enough for us to put our raingear on before the rain stopped. Ferocious mosquitoes were building as we approached the lake. And as there was no wind they hovered like a living cloud around your head. We couldn’t stop for breakfast.
The rain came and went, the valley behind us started to fill with mist. Patches of blue sky appeared. So beautiful very silent and still. It was so peaceful.
The ridgetop hiking on a jeep road gave way to a cross country scramble on an unformed trail up a creek gully. The rain has stayed away so we stopped for lunch by a creek, by the side of a rock rubble mountain.
Just as we were finishing lunch the rain started again. So it was wet weather gear on again for a slow uphill exit out of the creek gully. Soon the rain stopped and it was warm climbing so we took wet weather gear off. It was so disruptive to getting into any kind of hiking rhythm. It was a long cross country hike with no visible trail. Half way up the climb thunder and lightening started to build to our right. The temperature dropped quite suddenly. We were totally exposed on a mountainside as the thunderstorm approached.
A stand of pine trees off trail was our only choice to shelter while the storm passed over. We made it under the tree cover just as the rain came down. It was a heavy downpour with some hail. The thunder and lightening were some way off. We waited for it to pass over before leaving the shelter of the stand of pines. Once the thunderstorm passed we had an hour of almost vertical climbing to get to the top of this mountain we were on. The wind howled over the ridge.
We made the top and from there it was downhill on some more rough unformed trail. It was slow going.
By the time we left the creek gully and joined a jeep trail, the thunderstorm returned. The rain was heavy, we were out in the open, hiking through cattle paddocks. It was very unpleasant. We crossed Bear Creek trying to avoid the huge, sloppy piles of fresh cow dung. We were well and truly out of wilderness. Back to opening and closing fences and cow poop.
We camped by Tamboy Creek. And just as we got the tent set up another thunderstorm rolled through. Heavy rain is falling and gusts of wind are shaking the tent. We have all our cold weather clothes on. Montana sure is moody.