Continental Divide Trail 2016: day 3

Brad kept cruising despite his blisters.
On the evening of day 3, we began a traverse across a long winding ridgeline: the divide.  And as the night approached - so did the black storm clouds...

Sky is getting darker, clouds are approaching and lightning is getting closer!

As soon as we got across the dangerously exposed ridgeline, the sky darkened and the thunder and lightning neared as the rain began pelleting us and propelled us forward in hopes of finding someplace relatively unexposed from the storm...However, this storm contained a certain fury and our forward march brought us to trail along a mountainside with a vertical drop too steep to stop anywhere.  And so we hurried forward in the dark - now soaking wet in the powerful storm, and unable to see our surroundings as our headlamps just illuminated the downward driving rain.  We tried to see our surroundings when lightning flashed through the pouring rain.  It was, at one of these moments, that I decided to urge the others to descend down from the trail to a relatively flat area, where we were able to stop for a moment.  At this point, the eye of the storm was upon us and thunder struck so close and so intensely loud, we all threw ourselves flat onto the ground in instinctive fear.  But with sideways rain and dropping temperatures, it was the most intense tent pitching we had ever engaged in.  It took tremendous effort to put it together and keep the tent pieces from blowing away.  I ended up staying in Richard and Brad's tent - helping by wiping up pools of water on the inside with my dirty socks and assisting my brother until his body temperature got back up and he stopped shaking from the cold.  When the sun came out the following morning, it felt like a miracle and we felt lucky to have survived and weather such a storm.  We were beginning to understand the motto of the CDT: Embrace the Brutality.

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