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Re: Lightning on the AT

We were hiking north from Williamstown/North Adams, Mass. on a sticky 
morning, and began a long but gradual ascent just as we heard the first 
rumble of thunder.  It was raining when we reached the steep jumble of large 
rocks near the top, already slick, and the storm was closing in, so we 
retreated a bit and stood in the rain to wait.  

It began to rain harder.  We got out the ground clothe and sat underneath 
it for awhile, not the most comfortable of positions.  Finally we decided 
to head back down to where we had seen a blue-blazed bad weather trail 
branch off to the side.  Losing hard-earned elevation, we found the side 
trail and started back up, this time around the side of the mountain and 
the jumble of rocks.

It began to rain harder.

Just as we stepped out into the clearing at the top, a large flash of 
lightning exploded around us -- so close it was like we were surrounded 
by it, with no lag between the lightning and the thunder.  I panicked and 
immediately pulled off my pack and its external frame.  I turned around 
to see Sharon looking at me and, in my frightened state, grabbed her and 
pushed her back down the trail and into the trees.  (I've since 
apologized many times.  Besides, I was scared!)

We rushed back down the side trail, losing elevation again, until we 
found some rocks that we decided to sit on for awhile.  Two different 
rocks -- Sharon was still smarting from my having pushed her at the 
summit.  It rained harder.  Finally, another large boom drove us all the way 
back down the side trail and back down the AT, about a mile, to a campsite.

Where we ignominiously sat in the privy to wait out the storm.

It let up about an hour later, and thoroughly soaked and cold, we climbed 
the mountain *again,* across the wet, slippery jumble of rocks, and onto the 
summit.  Where we were promptly scared by a dog coming out of the brush, 
owned by some people coming up the other side.    

Lesson: the AT is hard enough, but more so when you climb the mountains 
three times.