So this last weekend I was supposed to go crew a cycling race off in the canyon about six hours away from where I live. My mom is an ultimate road cyclist, so I occasionally go to these events with her and crew. This last event was supposed to take place in a canyon and we were going to camp during the course of the race because it’s a 24 hour ordeal. This location also has a reputation for being a Sasquatch habitat.
Sasquatch are more commonly called Big Foot.
Going hiking and hunting for Big Foot was supposed to be the highlight of my trip. It never happened.
Instead, we arrived in the canyon and staked out a bit of ground for our tent. Because it was over crowded we decided we would pitch our tent and leave it for the night since we had a hotel reservation in town. I over heard someone mentioning the possibility of hail, but I thought they were joking. I proceed to set up my tent, being watched by several grown assed men who found me pitching the tent by myself very entertaining. Only after the tent was up did they attempt to flirt. I was not amused.
The event was providing dinner at another camp site in the canyon so while it proceeded to sprinkle on us, we drove there, parked and ran for the pavilion tent for our food. As we are loading our plates full of room temperature pizza, the wind kicks up and starts seriously raining on us – sideways. The tent is flapping and two of the poles came unstaked and the whole tent tried to fly away.
Just as the hail started.
Most of the people under the tent smartly bailed for the restrooms, a structure of stone, metal and tin. These are built to withstand the temperamental climate. A handful of people were still under the pavilion trying to keep it secure. My mother and grandmother bolted for their car, which was not the wisest of decisions, but mine was the stupidest of all.
Yeah, about the time the guys abandoned the pavilion I ran for the car. I got pelted in the face several times really good and lost my dinner. My left hand must have been hit really hard because it persists in being sore.
For whatever reason we decided that instead of staying put, we would go drive around in the hail. Which was getting larger and falling both harder and more frequent. We tried to circle around the canyon, I think to return to our camping site, and ran into a low water crossing that was already flooded over. This coincided with the hail getting up to golf ball size. So for about five minutes we huddled in my mom’s car, pulling clothing over our bodies and making sure we were all wearing glasses in case the hail broke the windows.
I don’t know how long the hail lasted, but it was pretty scary to be in a vehicle while it was raining down on us. My mom’s car is pretty beat up, but her bicycles are amazingly fine. They were on top of the car on a rack for this whole event.
We circled back to another water crossing and got a look at our camp site. The tent was busted, the poles dented, bent and broken. The tent itself was ripped and beyond rescuing. Since there was a possibility that more weather was headed in, we decided getting out of the canyon was a great idea.
It was the best idea we had. Period.
So we make the drive out of the canyon. We get to our hotel, and are informed that the race we’ve come all this way for has now been canceled. I understand why, with the storm and the wind, debris on the roads would have been dangerous for the road bikes, and the conditions on the mountains for the mountain bikes were horrible, so it was a valid decision.
This was our worst idea. Period.
We got into the canyon fine, but were stopped at the first water crossing. The water was about a foot high and moving fairly fast. While we watched pick-ups and four wheel drive vehicles go through without incident, my mom’s car is not made for that kind of terrain and I questioned the decisions made by those who did go through the water.
We hung out at the water crossing for maybe forty-five minutes before someone in a truck offered to take my mom across to grab some stuff from the tent.
Okay, this might have been our worst idea.
Mom goes off to get these things, and the water rises to two feet. They close down the roads and I’m stuck on one side of the river, my mom’s on the other side and all we do is watch the water rise and trees get swept downstream.
The water crossing also happened to be next to the mountain biker camp, which was kind of nice because there were plenty of attractive guys hanging around. And many of them were breaking into the beer and enjoying themselves.
It took the water about an hour and some change before it went down enough my mom could come back across and we could get on our happy way back to the hotel for some sleep and drying off.
All in all, it was a wasted trip, but we did get an adventure! Just not the one we paid for.