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Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Stormy Start to our Trip

Our trip started out in the midst of rain. It was raining at home when we departed, and the weather wasn't much different at a favorite campsite of ours. At least they were pretty clouds...
On that first night, for the only time while we were at the campsite, we could see the stars for about an hour. Because I knew the Perseid meteor showers were ramping up, I decided to pull out the camera for some star photos. I love seeing the Milky Way and shooting stars, all in one instant!
Then the clouds started to return, obscuring parts of the sky. Within a few minutes, we couldn't see more than 10' away from us. We were literally camping in the midst of the clouds.

The next morning, it wasn't raining but the Divide looked threatening, by any standard. This photo is on one of my favorite mountain biking trails. Over the days that we spent camping near it, this was the sunniest that it ever looked. I spent almost every instant on this trail pedaling like a maniac, trying to avoid being struck by lightning. I exhausted myself, but I saw the trail without any major mishaps.
We're thinking of visiting that area again soon to enjoy some sunshine rather than perpetual views of the trail like the next one. I found the clouds to be gorgeous but also very scary for someone riding a bike above treeline on the spine of the Continental Divide.
We did have some brief moments of sunshine near our campsite, making the wildflowers shine like candles in the night. We'd all run outside to have some fun in the fleeting sun.
Shyla leaped with joy during those respites from the monsoons.
And R sprinted with abandon (which makes me smile because his elbow seems so strong right now).
Then, as fast as the sun had broken through, a new storm front would appear on nearby mountains. We were perched so high in our campsite that we could see storm fronts coming our way in all directions.
Then the front would creep to the edge of our meadow before the skies above us opened up, again.
It was truly a lesson in life at high altitude. We tried to patiently wait out the storm cycle, knowing that eventually the weather would be sunny and nice. However, we finally gave up when every view of the horizon looked like this one. Again, it was beautiful, in a dramatic way, but it portended another day of thunder storms ahead of us.
We eventually decided to break camp to try to find better weather. We were treated to a pretty meadow vision on that last evening before we departed.
On the morning that we departed that camp, we did a quick run/bike ride before going to town to find a cafe with wifi where we could search for a sunny part of Colorado to visit.

Our decision seemed perfect when our final morning outing from that campsite involved deep fog and the heaviest rain we'd seen yet. Yes, the trail in that photo is on top of a mountain - although it's impossible to tell due to the clouds hugging it.
Our strategy of searching out good weather ended up being successful. The photos from yesterday's post were taken about 8 hours after our rain-soaked run/ride with zero visibility. Our search led us to find an island of sunshine and wildflowers. Sometimes it pays off to scrap your "plans" and follow the sunshine! We had great weather for the rest of our trip because we continued to follow the sun!


  1. Outstanding images!
    Glad your were able to get to where the sun was shining, and very glad you were not a lightening rod!

  2. i cannot imagine being at that altitude in the storms - and on a bike to boot!

  3. Gorgeous pictures as usual. Good for you for accessing the internet to find the sun!

  4. Absolutely amazing cloud photos - but that night

  5. Yes, we've been getting daily rains here - I go out early to try and exercise before storms come over the peaks. But, your misty, cloudy photos are sure beautiful! Glad you found some sunshine.

  6. Stunningly gorgeous photos, your alpine area is the most beautiful, Cheers,Jean.

  7. It's so disappointing to take a trip and find nothing but rain and crappy weather in general. Glad to hear you did finally find the sun. I think we'll be needing a little bit of that sun today as it might be raining here all day today.

  8. Wonderful photos. The rain has been so pesky all over the west lately. I'm glad you found some sunshine.

  9. Every photo is just amazing - love looking at hose cloud formations but sure wouldn't want to be out there:) Let the sun shine on!!!

  10. Glad to see you enjoyed yourselves despite the weather. As much as I love living on an island, I do love the thought of the mountains. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Beautiful! Our pawrents are taking a hike up to Ben Lomond Peak tomorrow and hope to get some good pics but they will just be from the cell phone.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley
    Mayorz For All Paws

  12. Those clouds are beautiful yet eerie
    Lily & Edward

  13. Such a nice trip, even with the storms. Thanks for taking us along.

  14. Your pictures are so beautiful I almost want to go camping!

  15. Crape Diem! I hope that all this activity means your migraines have abated, and you're feeling much better :)

  16. The scariest moment of my life was on the continental divide during a thunderstorm. And yet it was the most invigerating one too.

  17. Great Pictures! Thanks for showing us your Lovely landscape you live in!


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