Thunderstorm on North Peak

SheepPeak.jpgWell, I was made to eat my words. It actually can rain sometimes in California. That day, we took the boat across Saddlebag Lake and began our hike up to North Peak. As we strolled though the lovely basin that contains Conness Lakes, the tops of cumulus clouds peered over the Sierra crest.

Watching the clouds, we began climbing, and sure enough the cumulus clouds became cumulus congestus and were heading toward the cumulonimbus stage very rapidly. Thinking we still had time to reach the summit before the thunderstorms were fully developed, we continued up, but a half a mile from the peak the first roar of thunder sounded. I turned to Shad and said one word, “DOWN!”

Shad, having never been on a high mountain pass during a thunderstorm, continued to snap photos as I scurried down the mountain in record time. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I love to watch storms, yet after having been caught a few times in high places with my hair standing up on end and the thunder sounding like a gunshot next to my ear, I always try to avoid such situations!

As we strolled back past Conness Lakes, my pace more leisurely now that I was near some cover, we watched the gray clouds build in strength and surround the ridge. Two brave souls had hiked up one of the remaining snowfields and we followed their small distant forms as they sailed down on skis.