Yes, it's ANOTHER long, arduous, boring, mundane, and altogether dull - TRIP REPORT!! Yes, yet another Indy Adventure (tm).
And yes, it does contain some climbing! 500+ feet of it, in fact. If you can work your way to it, that is... ;-)
So...either go get some popcorn (or other munchies), something to drink (maybe something to deaden your brain?), and/or hit delete now, 'cause baby, HERE IT COMES!!!
Bay-bee Lawn Productions Inc presents...
Indiana Mark in...
Someone forgot to adequately warn Indy about the black flies and mosquitos...
Friday, June 14th
Indy packed and bolted from B'more. Destination: New Hampshire!
10 hours later he arrived in Merrimack, having exercised his road warrior skills in dealing with the Standard East Coast Traffic problems (rush hour, speeding traps, road construction, accidents, etc). He arrived Merrimack and stopped at a Radio Shed to pick up some batteries for his camera. It was an exceedingly overly-happy clerk who greeted Indy with way too much enthusiasm. Way. Too. Much. Indy got the batteries, and asked for a post office (had some father's day cards to mail out). The bouncing clerk said it was just down the road a bit (happily in the same direction Indy wanted to go), on the left, next to another little shopping mall like this Radio Shed was in.
"You can't miss it!" called out the clerk as Indy departed.
"Great," thought Indy. Easy to find. Indy likes easy.
A few minutes later he had travelled a bit more than 'just down the road', and passed 2 or 3 small shopping malls like the one he left. No post office. Instead he ended up at New England Ellen's rather fabulous and luxurious little suburban home-like apartment thing (it looked like a townhome/house-like-thing, but not quite; even seemed to come with a garage - an unheard of thing down in Maryland). However, she wasn't home from work yet. Indy left a note: 'I'm here; gone off in search of mythical post offices'. And he took off again.
Five minutes later Ellen arrived, found the note, and chuckled.
On his way out Indy ran into (*thud!*) an old woman walking her dog. He asked her if she knew where the post office was. "Oh, yes! You go up to the light, turn left. It'll be on your right, just 3 or 4 minutes down the road. You can't miss it!"
Great. Heard that before... Indy drove on, turned left at the light, and went down the road...and ended up back at the Radio Shack.
"'...can't miss it', they say. Feh!! Grumble, mutter..."
Indy went into the local grocery store (Shaw's?) to get some breakfast for the weekend. And asked the young clerkgirl at the counter if she knew, by happenstance, where the post office might be (the ol' third time's a charm theory).
"Oh! Yes, it's just down the road-"
'Here we go again,' thought Indy.
"-it's past the Mobile gas station-"
Indy's eyes lit up - real directions! He even remembered seeing the Mobile gas station
"-and go past a Y-split in the road, then past another gas station-"
Indy nodded. The Y-split he remembered, too.
"-and it just past there, but it's right before you get to the Dunkin Donuts"
Yes!! Indy remembered seeing the Dunkin Donuts right at the corner of that light he had turned left at. Alright - narrowed down! Indy thanked the young girl and boogied on outta there, headed up the road, past the aforementioned gas stations and Y-splits, and...voila'! Post office...which had closed 5 minutes before he got there! ARGH!!!!
Fortunately there was a stamp machine. Indy could still get his father's day cards out...
Turned out the post office was ~300 feet away from the Dunkin Donuts and the intersection. Indy is still puzzling out how it can be 3 or 4 minutes down the road...
From there he zipped back to Ellen's, to find her ready and waiting. Her and the Evil Mosquitos From Hell (which descended upon him and his car as he parked). Ellen said that they had to wait for Hot Rod Lisa to get there, so the two hung out (indoors!) and got caught up on life. Finally H-R Lisa roared into the neighborhood, plowing over anything and anyone that got in front of her (you don't want to get in her way!). Bouncing into Ellen's little home she announced, "I'm here! Let's GO!"
Ellen introduced H-R Lisa and Indy. Lisa then announced that she would be bugging out early on sunday, and not climbing with them (The Plan was to hike Mt Washington in search for Ark Clues, then do some climbing sunday). She had a date, which for some reason took precedence over the White Mountains (go figure; priorities).
"What's his name?" Indy asked.
"Noah," replied Lisa.
Indy was stunned. "Really?!? Does he have--"
"No, Indy, not the same Noah; sorry," replied Lisa.
Indy sighed. So close...
The three piled themselves and gear (and Ellen's homemade brownies) into two cars, headed north, had carb-heavy dinner at an pretty good Italian restaurant (with pink bricks on the outside of the building), and continued on to Crawford Notch Campground up on the White Mountains.
Arriving the campground the trio secured a semi-isolated site, pitched camp, and turned in for the evening. Indy took a quick stroll to a nearby clearing to gaze up at the super-clear skies and bright stars before turning in himself.
Saturday, June 15th
The trio arose and made do with a meager breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and other assorted odds and ends. The black flies and mosquitos were out In Force, so Indy pulled out his only defense: Deep Woods OFF! Pump spray. He applied it, and it seemed to help a bit. The mosquitos and black flies stayed at bay a bit. Not totally, but some.
"You smell pretty!" noted Ellen. Lisa agreed. Indy blushed.
After breakfast they dashed off, Hot-Rod Lisa driving, to Pinkham Notch. The Plan: ascend the Huntington Ravine trail, cross the Alpine Meadows Garden, then finish to the summit via Tuckerman/Lion's Head.
Naturally The Plan didn't come to full fruition. Our intrepid threesome noted a multitude of signs (signs, signs, everywhere there were signs!) warning of the dangers of icefall. Tuckerman Ravine was closed in sections due to icefall. Huntington Ravine trail was labelled a being in 'DANGEROUS CONDITIONS'. Other trails were flagged as either closed or under varying degrees of dangerous conditions or caution warnings. There was even a sign which read something to the effect of 'More than a 100 tons of ice form in Tuckerman Ravine each winter. In the spring it falls. It comes down very fast. And it can kill you.' (note: the last two sentences of the sign are directly quoted). Indy thought of Jen-Vader, somewhere back in Maryland.
Ooooo! Neat. 100s of tons of ice. And the trio's helmets were back at camp (as if mere helmets would ward off refridgerator-sized blocks of ice falling from who-knows-how-far-up). The trio marched on, and ended up taking the Lion's Head Trail (as the sign to Huntington Ravine had been removed in an attempt to limit access to that route due to current conditions).
"Next time, Ellen, we do a climb up Huntington Ravine!" called Indy as he marched ahead on the trail.
The Lion's Head trail proved none too difficult. Pretty easy going, mostly a steady uphill run, if rocky in places. Some muddy and wet areas, but mostly quite fine. The trio even got the opportunity to negotiate a couple of small snowfields (well, the trail cut across two snowfields; wasn't exceedingly technical or anything to cross). Indy, of course, tossed a couple of obligatory snowballs at his companions.
Earlier down on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail Indy noted quite a few people were coming up with skis. Skis?!? It's June, fer cryin' out loud! Ellen explained that sometimes people came up to ski what was left of the snow, sort of an 'end of season' event. Indy, being from warmer climes, had difficulty imagining that so much snow could still be around in the middle of June.
On the Lion's Head Trail, marching up ahead, allowing momentum to carry him forward, Indy found himself clear of the snow fields and rounding a corner to a fairly straight run up towards the Alpine Meadows Garden trail and an overlook into the Tuckerman Ravine. But before he got to the overlook he heard...an odd noise. He paused. A wierd, cheering sound. Strange what noises the wind can make up in the mountains! He started to move on...and heard a loudspeaker begin announcing something or other, and the cheering sound doubled in volume. What the--??
Turning back he awaited his companions. Once they got close, Indy told them to listen. They stopped, cocked their heads, and listened...silence. 'Great,' figured Indy. 'Just when I want them to hear something, it stops...' But a moment later the cheering sound started again, and the loudspeaker voice announced something or other. Ellen got a pained look. "I'm sorry; I forgot, they hold auto races up the mountain."
"They what?!?" exclaimed Indy.
"They hold auto--"
"No. Never mind; I don't wanna know." Indy shook his head. 'Auto races'...sheesh!! The trio moved on.
In short time the three reached the overlook. Indy sauntered over to gaze down into the Tuckerman Ravine and at the snowfield contained therein. And to his small wonder, noted no less than 15, possibly upwards of 19, skiers and snowboarders, either marching up the snowfield, or coming down it (in various states of vertical or horizontal).
After watching the skiers a bit (and chatting with various folk the three have encountered in other places along the trail), Indy and party moved on again. It was windy and chilly up there on the ridge. The plan was to now to move up to the Alpine Meadows Garden, have lunch, then return to the Lion's Head, move up to the upper Tuckerman Trail, and summit. Indy checked: he had remembered to bring his Ark Search-O-Matic Meter (tm). It would work well from the top.
A short stretch later the three found themselves in the Alpine Meadows Garden. Not many flowers out; they were budding late this year. The bug population was down, too. This was Good. The three found a level (and dry; lots of marshy and standing water pools up there) spot to have lunch. As they ate, the Weather God began to collect his resources...
Indy looked up at the clouds gathering over the summit of Mt Washington, and hoped fervently that they would just blow over. No other peak in sight had clouds over it; just the one they were on. The crowd cheers and the loudspeaker voice continued to buffet them, as did the chilly wind. And to round out the sonic cacophony a car alarm kicked off. Add to the above a constant 'beep! beep! beep! beep! beep! beep! beep!'
"Well, don't that just take your biscuit," scowled Indy. "So much for a 'wilderness experience' in the mountains..." Ellen broke out the brownies to ease the civilian auto-impact. Mmmmm...
The three noted that the clouds were getting thicker, and bigger, and more ominous-looking. The surrounding peaks were still clear and sunny. They also noticed that the loudspeaker voice had finally stopped, as did the cheering crowd. The car alarm was even silenced. They heard many a motorcycle or car engine rev up and apparently depart from the summit of the mountain.
"Well, the race is over," stated Ellen.
The clouds got thicker, even more ominous, and then began to descend in altitude. Then Indy spotted it: rain! Indy sighed resignedly. "Here it comes..."
The trio quickly donned on what weather gear they had, packed up, and started hiking back to the Lion's Head Trail. The rain began to hit them halfway to the trail junction. And increased by the time they reached it. A stream of other hikers were heading out and down; only a few (including our hero and two heroines) were trudging up the other direction. Into the face and teeth of the storm.
"Rrrrummmmmblllle!" called out the Weather God. "RrrrrrUUUUMMMMmmmbbblllle!!!"
Indy looked up, shook his head, and turned to Ellen. "Well? What do you think?"
Hot-Rod piped up "Go for it!"
Obediently Indy turned and continued up the trail. The clouds dipped lower, visibility went down to 100 yards, then 100 feet. Then 50 feet. The rain was a light, but soaking, rain. The rocks were slippery, and occassionally thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance. The group decided that they would continue going until either the way became too treacherous to negotiate do to the wet rocks, or until they saw lightning. Either way if they saw lightning at this point they were in the soup: no non-exposed retreats.
On the way up the three met up with an overly-enthusiastic young boy of 13, and his father. The boy (Sean or Shawn; we'll call him Shawn until your author learns differently) was trying to encourage everyone to climb up, and would dash off ahead, bouncing up over rocks like some billygoat (damned agile little kids!). "Come on! Come on! It's easy!"
The Weather God grew confused...who was this bowah?!? His storm force faltered, and he stumbled...oops; too late to recover for a full-on stomping!
Indy and Kevin (Shawn's father) chatted a bit on the way up. Turns out Kevin and Shawn were from western West Virginia - practically neighbors of Indy! They discussed some of the nicer places in West Virginia (Seneca, Dolly Sods). Shawn, in the meantime, decided to check with everyone he met going up the trail to find out whether or not they wanted to struggle back down the mountain (visibility was now pushing 30 feet) or get a ride down with him and his dad (apparently they drove to the top and hiked down to hike back up, but only made it partway before the Weather God cut loose). Kevin smiled sadly and mentioned that they only had a small Ford Ranger, not a bus. This did not dissuade Shawn one bit. The more people he could find to ask, the happier he seemed to get.
Finally the group reached the summit. The rain had stopped (was still going on down below), but visibility was between 30-50 feet, and it was reasonably windy. And chilly (though hardbody New England Ellen was still running about in shorts). Everyone visited the summit, attempted some obligatory summit photos, and then bolted (in a calm, restrained, dignified manner) for the shelter of the museum and cafe house. Indy tried his Ark Search-O-Matic Meter, but in that soup, nothing was being found. <sigh>
"Next time, Indy" soothed Ellen, "Next time."
Kevin announced that it was time to go, the Kevin Transportation Service was loading up and heading down. Shawn rounded up everyone he had offered a ride down the mountain to (after some deliberation the Indy-Ellen-Lisa trio came up with the 'no pride!' excuse and joined the bandwagon). He first had a group photo taken of everyone, then...off to the Kevin Mobile! Where we all piled into the front of back of the truck, as space allowed. 8 people into a small Ford Ranger, with camping gear for a week and two mountain bikes - space was tight! Kevin fired up the motor, and through the fog they went, thousand foot drops to either side (well, okay, maybe to one side of the road). Soon they broke free of the Weather God Cloud, and back into the warmth and sun. Back down the mountain the entire way, Kevin dropped everyone off at Pinkham Notch, where everyone went their seperate ways. Indy and crew back to camp, where they cooked Ellen's dehydrated experiement dinner (mmmmm!), and then, one by one, drifted off to bed.
Sunday, June 16th
The group got up a little slower this time around. A quick breakfast and camp was broken. Hot-Rod said her good-byes to all and dashed off to make sure Noah was behaving or something (building an Ark for Indy?). Indy and Ellen sought out mythical beaver dams on the river (found none) then loaded up and headed higher up Crawford Notch to explore Mount Willard for climbing potential. The Weather God apparently had spent himself the day before, and the day ahead promised to be warm and sunny.
The two got to the parking lot and began to gear up when two local hardbody women drove up. They leaped out of their car, clad in lycra tights, and grabbing their gear, dashed down the railroad tracks, calling out behind them, "If you get stuck, give us a yell; we'll come!". Indy looked at Ellen who looked at Indy. "Now what did that mean??" Ellen shrugged. And they finished gearing up.
Heading down the tracks Indy noted his Secret Tome Of New Hampshire Climbing indicated (in its cryptic language) the approach was "...both novel and easy...". Walking down the unused railroad tracks was pretty novel and easy...but where were the cliffs? Finally Indy decided to venture off into a potential opening in the woods that might lead up to the rocks. It did, but only after a heinous and dirty scramble. Ellen, not being fully aware of Indy's tendency to 'take the path not well travelled', followed. After about 15 to 20 minutes of this they found themselves back out on the tracks again. They had found the rock, but it didn't look like where they wanted to be. "'Easy and novel" the papers said!" exclaimed Indy. He strolled down the tracks another 100 feet...and found the easy side path from the tracks to the rocks. Go figure...
The two made their way up and began to try and figure out where the 5.6(*) route Star Trek was located (apparently the two hardbody women were going to do Across The Universe, 5.10-(**)). Scrambling around on a path of sorts, Indy came across the two hardbody women, one belaying, one down-climbing. "We're outta here!" they exclaimed, "The bugs are too much for us!". Indy looked at Ellen who looked at Indy and shrugged. The hardbodies bolted, leaving our hero and heroine alone.
Scouting out the rocks, on a rather steep dirt slope, Indy figured out where Star Trek started. And noted that the bugs, not having the hardbody women to feed off of anymore, were paying him a whole lot more attention than he was even remotely comfortable with. Ellen, on the otherhand, was unaffected. "Gaaaaahhh!!!!" cried out Indy. *Slap!*Slap!*Slap!* went Indy's hands as he laid decimation on the God-knows-HOW-many mosquitos and black flies were sucking at his arms and legs. It was decided between the two of them that this route would be done Next Time, later in the summer or early fall when Indy makes (hopefully) a return. They ran back for the car.
On the way back Indy, feeling a BNTC (Bad Need To Climb), spied a dome-like protrusion projecting out from the woods across the road from where they parked, right in the Notch proper.
"What's that?" asked Indy.
"Elephant Buttress" replied Ellen
"Ooooooo...." cooed Indy, "Look at that line...let's go!"
Without much convincing Ellen followed. There they met a family preparing to set up some top-rope routes off to the side of the main arete. The mom was way cool. The children (young, 8 and less) were acting up a little. She told 'em to be quite and stop horsing around or they'd fall. And if they decided to fall, to do so quietly!
Indy liked her. So did Ellen. :-)
Indy looked up at the route before him. Okay, so it was 'only' a mere 5.4(**). It looked cool! Neat little cracks, nice face sections, some ledges (of sorts) here and there...a little 140' route up some niiiice granite rock! Just what the doctor ordered! (and who knows, maybe Indy would find a clue or four to the whereabouts of the Ark - too bad he left his Ark Search-O-Matic Meter in the back of Kevin's pickup!). Ellen put Indy on belay, and up he went!
[didn't I promise you there was *climbing* in this story? - ed]
20 happy minutes later (nice climbing, neat route, excellent gear - if a little run out in a couple spots - perfect 5.4, deserves all two '*''s in its rating) Indy was at the top and secured in. He happily used at least one type of each piece from the rack: nuts and tri-cams, and then friends and camalots. He anchored in and put Ellen on belay. She proceeded to follow.
A couple minutes later, with Ellen about halfway up, a figure bounced onto the tops of the rocks from the woods. Dressed all in white (except for the dark sunglasses and black leather biker gloves), with medium-length flowing blond hair, this lean figure began to sing out. "I can seeeeeEEEEeee for miiiIIiiiillllesss and miiiiiiiIIIIIiiles and miiiiillles!!!"
Indy let Ellen know that wasn't him singing.
A few moments later The Man In White was joined by four companions: two biker dudes, two biker dudettes. They noticed Indy and the three guys dropped down to see what was going on (what's with all the ropes?). Indy explained to them a little about the esoteric world of 'climbing'. They ooo'd and ahh'd appropriately. If only to humor Indy. They introduced themselves. The singer was White Wolf, biker dude. The other two were Red Dawg Glen and Guinness, biker dudes.. The two ladies didn't get close enough to the edge for introductions.
Ellen popped herself up on the ledge a short bit later, to the applause of White Wolf and Co. The group stood about and chatted a bit, Red Dawg probing Indy on the mysteries of the Troubled Spaced Collide-o-scope. Then they hiked out to go their seperate ways. The biker dudes and dudettes to the West. Ellen and Indy back down the Valley to the East. Destination: Whitehorse Ledges!
In a short time the duo found themselves at the base of the Whitehorse Slabs. Consulting his same Secret Tome Of New Hampshire Climbing, Indy picked out several potential routes for them to try. The final verdict came to Sea Of Holes (5.7- **). They sought it out, and prepped to go.
[In the meanwhile, legions of mosquitos hovered in the woods, waiting for fresh meat, er, blood... - ed]
Indy went up pitch 1, which is not in the tome (apparently this is common at Whitehorse - 'pitch 1' here would be technically 'pitch 2' anywhere else; whatever!). He found some pro, his feet slipped a couple times on a tenuous surface, but he regained his footing and frictioned on (did I mention Whitehorse Ledges is really a reeeeelly huge friction slab? No? Well, it is...).
Indy was leading up on double-ropes. The plan was to climb the main pitches of this route. Counting the bottom, nominal 'first' pitch, there were four; as each was at minimum 120', Indy and Ellen both brought their ropes for double-rope rappels; Indy opted to play with double-rope leading using these two thick ropes (11mm and 10.5mm). About 9 feet shy of the first set of bolts, Ellen called out that Indy was out of rope on her rope. Arrgh!!! Just two little moves away!!! Ellen opted to untie her rope, but leave Indy on belay on his rope (which turns out to be about 12-15 feet longer), and he slipped up to the belay stance. Securing himself, he became happy again (did I ever mention how much fun it is to climb and be just a few feet shy of the belay anchors? No? Well, it's not...). Indy hauled up the untied rope and put Ellen on belay. Up she flew.
Indy studied his Tome of Most Climbing Knowledge and previewed what he could of the second pitch. It was at this point he realized they were now at what the book called 'pitch 1'. Joy. Well, pitch '0' was a full 150 foot run. Pitch '1' looked okay, so Indy frictioned on (the duo dropped the double-rope option and let Indy just trail the second rope below him as he climbed so Ellen wouldn't have to deal with it; this proved mildly tricky whenever Indy found a spot for pro and went to clip his rope - had to make sure he clipped the right one!). 120-some feet later, doing some interesting friction moves, and finding a few actual honest-to-god pockets in the rock (pockets that sucked in tri-cams like nobody's business!), Indy was at the next belay. This belay was a tad bit uncomfortable - no ledge to stand or sit on. Ugh; semi-hanging belay on a slab...not a lot of fun. Indy put Ellen on belay and brought her up (she scrambled on up without raising a sweat...or eyebrow...or anything much). She arrived at the belay station and declared that this was uncomfortable and Indy had just better not take all day on the next pitch! Indy promised he would do his best.
Re-gearing up again, Indy led away. This pitch proved a little more run-out and dicey than the previous (then again, Indy's old, decrepit climbing shoes weren't helping much - he can't wait to get his new ones!). He delicately worked his way up to a large bulge/overlap, found a spot for pro, and got a little happier (it was a rather long way back to the belay! And the three pieces he had below him were...well, one was psychological ;-). Indy looked up to the next belay station - he was only about halfway. <sigh>.
Indy made sure his pro was set (but mistakenly put a short runner instead of a long sling on it!) and gingerly stepped over the bulge. Two irreversible moves later, Indy realized his mistake - rope drag from HELL! Gaaaah!!! And 60' of friction before him, no bomber handholds in sight - Indy found a spot for some more pro. He placed it (used a longer runner this time - like it was going to help much!) and went to the next spot for pro (idea: get what he could in now, 'cause this rope drag was going to pull him right off his delicate and slowly crumbling crystal stances!). He got a second piece in and moved on up, avoiding the wonderful pockets off 10' or so to his right (all that would do would be to introduce even MORE rope drag in the system!). Indy toyed with the idea of setting up a temp belay right there, but wasn't real happy with the amount of pro he had in. So climbed (struggled mightily) on.
In a few moments a reasonably exhausted Indy reached up, grasped a BOMBER handhold, and hauled his sorry butt and tired body up to the belay anchors. Quickly he clipped in and became once again a Happy Camper (er, Climber). As he belayed Ellen up (who marvelled at Indy's use of a #5 tri-cam early on in the pitch) scouting expeditions from the bands of mosquitos which waited in the woods below made forays against Indy. Indy would like to inform you at some point just how hard it is to belay and fend of blood-sucking insects (and he had his 'OFF!' on!).
Ellen arrived 20 minutes later, actually semi-impressed with Indy. "You have potential, grasshopper" "Gee, thanks" replied the tired Indy. He began to study the next pitch. Ellen patted Indy on the shoulder, "We can finish this off Next Time if you'd like." Indy nodded, and still fending off the mosquito-scouts, rigged the two-rope rappel. Down they went, one rap at a time, for well nigh 400 feet. And at each rap station the mosquitos made furtive sorties against Indy.
Upon reaching the ground, the mosquito aircraft carrier launched their full barrage, and hordes upon hordes of deadly vampiric insects descended upon the hapless Indy. *slap!*slap!*slap!*slap!*slap!*slap!*slap!*slap!*slap!*slap!* They even attacked Ellen when she got down. The duo rapid-coiled their ropes and bolted for the car.
Upon reaching the car Indy applied another half bottle of his Deep Woods OFF! "You smell pretty," giggled Ellen. Indy flashed her That Look. At least the mosquito attacks eased off.
Indy looked down as he was shedding his gear and saw a note addressed 'Indy'. He opened it up carefully. "What's it say?" asked Ellen. "It says, 'Go West, young man'" replied Indy.
The duo hopped in the car and took off in search of...pizza! They found a Hut, went in, ordered, and ate happily. Contented they drove back to the Ever So Humble Ellen Abode (how she got a grand piano in it Indy never did figure out). After unpacking and repacking, the two decided they were tired, and drifted off to their corners to sleep. Indy tossed and turned, chewed to pieces was he from vicious little mosquitos, with sharp pointy probisci. In the morning he arose and found his legs so covered with welts that they resembled a 3-D topographic map of the Appalachian Mountains. *scratch!*scratch!*scratch!*
Indy finished packing, and after a solid breakfast, Ellen and Indy said their goodbyes. As Ellen dragged herself into work, Indy took the long slog home, dodging toll roads as best he could, but no so much luck avoiding closed roads due to construction (whose big idea was it to close up a mile of the Saw Mill River Parkway in New York, anyway?!?). Eventually Indy arrived at home, after a brief stop at Cro-Magnon Man's house. As Indy unpacked, an extremely irate and irritated Weather God let Baltimore have it with a major electrical storm, and massive amounts of water (got 3 inches in one hour, 5 total in 3 hours - and days later it's still raining there; if ever there was a need for the Ark...).
Next stop: Colorado/Wyoming (look out y'all: Indy's coming...and where Indy goes, the Weather God can't be too far behind!)