Weather Alerts I could see after the fact!.
During the preceding week the walk to state line from Ely, NV had brought various surprises and blessings, including the two aforementioned mountain passes, a couple of beautiful camp sites (and the discovery that my new tent was going to leak at certain seams, and would have to be sealed!) I stalled for a night at Major's Junction (due to heavy rain/cold) and for 2 nights at the Border Inn (applying seam sealer to my tent and letting it 'cure'), while being generously looked after by the owner-angel, who made a visit to the Lehman Caves possible, among other kind offerings. This caves site is part of Great Basin National Park visitors' center. All of it awesome.
Well. I have dodged, waited out, walked and camped through lots of rain storms in these last weeks. But I was not quite prepared for yesterday's storm, which was billed as 'scattered thundershowers' at the last forecast 'check-in' before I left the Border Inn. (This establishment straddles the state line, as well as two time zones. You can sleep in Utah, and drink and gamble in Nevada, all in the same place!)
Departing Nevada the weather was deceptively mild and still. Much of the day (15 miles) was pleasant walking. Clouds gathered in the valley to the west as I climbed toward the 7000' peak where I'd intended to camp. But the rain and clouds did not seem to head east. About 5-6 miles from the summit the wind abruptly changed direction, now coming from the NNW and blowing a gale. Still no precipitation - yet. But it was work just staying on the road. Within the hour a fierce rain/hail was pounding the slope, the wind still blowing, complete with thunder and lightening display. My rain pants leaked; my boots were squelchy. (No time to put on those 'waterproof socks'!) The driving rain was sneaking into my other gear. A car stopped and I was offered a lift by an employee of the Border Inn, who was headed for Salt Lake City. I got in.
What to do? Would I see if we drove past the weather and then get out of the car in my sodden condition? Could I dry out overnight? That was never a question, as it rained and sometimes hailed heavily for the entire, wild and isolated 75 miles to Delta. Four days of walking 'averted'. I checked into a motel and found out that my water carrier had sprung a leak(!) This feels vaguely unsatisfying, as if I've cheated somehow, in skipping over those last miles. But the connection with my driver-bodhisattva was great, as were those contacts with some very helpful folks here in Delta. My gear and I are dry again! And there is more walking in my future!
|Antique ballroom from the 40's (no longer in use), in Delta, UT|
|Ditto - all decorations are made from cut mirrored glass.|
|Border Inn. Wheeler Peak in the distance.|
|Campsite on Sacramento Pass|
|Same camping area, and Wheeler Peak.|