Today was the last day of my sister's week-long visit with us, so at noon I took her to the airport, got her on a plane, and later headed out to get a couple hours of hunting in before dusk. It turned humid and the temperature was in the low 70's, which was a switch from the upper 80's with zero humidity that we've had all week (My vacation week!). Arriving at my spot, I put on my gear and walked the path into the forest. Two guys were fishing at the beginning of the trail, but other than that, I was alone.
I walked for about an hour and since it was already 6 pm, I thought I'd better start heading back. I took a short break, did a bit of plinking with my Henry 17 HMR and started the return trip down the hill. Less than half way down I began hearing distant thunder and it was getting dark fast. I stepped up the pace and before I knew it, it was so dark that I was starting to have difficulty seeing. The light rain that had started minutes ago was turning into a downpour. Cracks of lightening were exploding directly overhead and it was really getting creepy. The water level on the path was now about an inch deep and I was soaked to the skin. I suddenly appeared to be surrounded by small white stones. The rain had turned to hail and it was hopping on he ground all around me, quickly getting bigger and really starting to sting.
What immediately came to mind was a trip my wife, sister, brother-in-law and I took years ago to SkyLine Drive in Virginia. The week was a scorcher and it had been around 100 degrees. On our last day, the sky turned very dark and the temperature dropped 40 degrees in a minute. Hail the size of ice-cubes began raining down. My brother-in-law was caught outside the cabin, and we saw him standing on a picnic table under the open umbrella, covering his face so as not to be hit by hundreds of air-born ice-cubes that were bouncing up from the ground.
What if something similar happens today? There was no place to hide, so I picked up the pace, hoping that I could make it to my vehicle before things got really bad. It was a relief when the hail changed back to a torrential downpour. When I reached the tree line at the start of the path, there was a huge crack of lightening directly overhead. I now had to run about 50 yards through a clearing to make it to my Jeep, turning myself into a lightening rod. I figured that in about 10 seconds there would be another strike, so I ran as fast as I could, opened the door and dove in. I attempted to take a few photos for you but my camera had gotten wet and it's now history. Oh well; no coyotes, but one hell of a memory. I'll try to do it again tomorrow.