|Me at the start of the trail|
Wrong again! 2 hours later the rumbling started again. Everything got dark and lightning everywhere. And of course the bucketing started. Only this time it would not stop! I was hiking on an old vehicle track and within 2 minutes the track converted itself into stream. Water came gushing down everywhere. Seriously, I could not walk the track anymore. On top of all that the muddy ground become very soft and I sunk in all the time. I tried walking on the grass which was a bit better. But the worst of all that: It was soon getting dark and I needed a camp site. Unfortunately, everything was drenched, absolutely drenched with water. I almost panicked!
But luck was on my side. Just as it got dark I found a wonderful camp spot under pine trees next to a creek bed. The pine needles had created a soft bed and soaked the water in. Perfect! I set up camp and was optimistic. Wrong again. The rain stopped soon and the wind came up. Remember, I am hiking with a Tarpent Contrail. Not very wind stable to start with. But a desaster in 64 km/h gusts. Despite tons of rocks on the tent stakes one came off and disappeared forever. I tried to fix the problem as best as I could at 2 am in the morning in hurricane winds. I seriously thought that my tent would not survive the night. I did not sleep a single minute and tried to hold up the tent walls when the wind blew them in. It did not help when I heard a tree branch crashing down close by. In the US they call those widow makers.... I was camped under small trees and hoped to be safe!
I checked my watch about every 15 minutes but time would crawl only so slowly. I ate breakfast at 5 am and decided to hike out. No way I was going to stay on the trail in that weather. I found a nice dirt road and started walking at 6 am. After 4 hours eventually a car came by and brought me back into civilisation - where I am sitting now in front of a library computer watching the strom outside the window...