Why It’s Not A Good idea
This weekend was another adventure out in the wilderness. I did some hiking in Sedona, Arizona and almost got struck by a massive bolt of lightning. It was pretty intense, but luckily I got some pretty cool pictures of the whole thing.
I’d like to start this story from the end with this picture I snapped of a lightning bolt at the bottom of the hike:
That’s Not Good
I am no expert on weather, but I am smart enough to know that lightning and thunder at relatively the exact same time means get out of dodge. Especially when you are standing on a rock in the middle of the desert. I found this paragraph explaining the risks over at InteliHealth:
“For example, if you are caught in a lightning storm while outside in an open space, especially at an elevation (for instance, while hiking on a mountain trail), your risk is considerably higher than the estimated overall risk of one in 600,000. (That’s according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; other estimates vary from one in 10,000 to one in 5,000,000.)”
So apparently hiking on a mountain trail can significantly raise your chances of getting struck by lightning. The crazy thing was the fact that after we made it safely to the car, we noticed another group of people still near the top of Bear Mountain. Right after we saw them, we saw a lightning bolt actually strike the mountain between the people and our car. It was literally less than a thousand feet away.
We figured it would be a good idea to call the ranger station and let them know that there were still people at the top of Bear Mountain when the storm hit. Unfortunately the ranger station was closed and had a message machine with another number to call. So we called the other number and informed them that the lightning struck right next to the people and we could no longer see them. Our guess was they ran for cover somewhere after seeing the burst of lightning.
The Bear Mountain Trail
Anyways, the hike I did (attempted) was the Bear Mountain Trail, which is 2.8 miles one way with an increase in elevation around 1,800 feet. The hike was very steep, but provided some awesome views from start to finish. Along the trail, I managed to see a Jackrabbit, 1,300 June bugs, and some pretty cool caves. Here are some more pictures I got along the way:
If you would like to see the rest of my pictures from the trip, check them out over at my Flickr page.
As you can see, it is pretty amazing to see the surrounding areas from up top of Bear Mountain. It reminds you how beautiful Arizona can be, in good weather and bad. The hike is well woth the work, as long as it isn’t in a lightning storm. Luckily, I am still alive and sitting in my cubicle recapping the whole experience.