Determined to get to Belden before the Braatens' trail angel house shut its doors for the year on August first, Any Minute and I resolved to hike together as quickly as possible through the last of the Sierra passes. Our pace is so similar that I would have been foolish to miss the opportunity to walk with a perfect hiking partner. Neither of us had begun this adventure with the notion of walking with someone else; we were both a little shellshocked by our decision all day, I think. Hiking with Shazaam's group had been very different from this kind of deliberate venture. Good to continue to surprise myself, I guess.
We went up a mountain and had begun meandering along an exposed rocky ridgeline when the fluffy white clouds grew dark. Few patches of trees appeared along the trail; the light rain was joined by a chorus of thunder. A couple of lighting flashes convinced us to speed to the nearest copse of pinion pines. Rain set in, then harder rain, then hail and more lighting. We sat and talked under a tall tree for hours waiting for it to pass. The damned sun started to set and a second wave of rain began. Tents had to go up. Not the 20 mile day we'd intended.
Every electrically charged moment made me smile. Feeling rumbling up through the earth and smelling ozone from the bright flashes against angular old boulders is unparalleled. Eventually, at the end of the show, I curled into my bag and slept for once.