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Weather: from one extreme to another

Sun Advocate Publisher

I was struck with a stark reminder last weekend of how good I felt when it's green and lush and there is plenty of moisture in the air. I spent a long weekend vacationing with my sons in western Montana where everyone was complaining about all the rain and moisture they continue to receive.

Two years ago, after living along the southern Oregon coast for several rainy seasons, I was really looking forward to the warmth and drier climate when I accepted a transfer with another newspaper company to Bullhead City, Ariz., and Laughlin, Nev. I had never visited this area before and like a fool, I never asked anyone what hot and dry really meant.

The day I flew out of Coos Bay, Ore. it was 62 degrees and after we landed in Las Vegas, Nev. we promptly drove south in an air-conditioned car and arrived to the hot spot of the state of Nevada. It was 128 degrees in Bullheadand I thought I was going to die. I felt as though I was inside a heater all the time.

During those extremely hot days in Arizona all I remembered was the rain on the coast I had experienced. For days and months at a time it had rained and we all complained of the dampness and the cool, ocean breezes that drifted across our towns.

I certainly went from one extreme to another. In the entire 18 months I lived in Arizona I saw it rain only one time. A dramatic thundershower hit in last August on a Sunday afternoon and I remember being the only person out in my yard loving the feeling of a good drenching downpour. Other than dodging the lighting strikes I enjoyed the feeling of a strong rain shower. It was a good thing I didn't miss it because that is the last time I saw it rain, before this past weekend in Montana.

In the seven months I have lived in Carbon County I only remember a few drops now and then. Like so many others, I wonder when are we ever going to get a rain shower.

Last Saturday my sons and I hiked three miles up into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, a remote area about 65 miles northeast of Missoula. It was a great hike and the trail meandered through lush mountain fields and high grassy meadows. The creeks and rivers were running out of their banks, murky and muddy from the rushing sediment being carried down by the raging river.

But the sun was bright and we hiked in our t-shirts enjoying the freshness of the mountain air. We put up our tents and hiked around a couple impressive waterfalls, playing with my younger son's puppy. We finally got serious about dinner around 6:30 p.m. and started the campfire and was just about to put the hamburger and potatoes in tinfoil when a large thundercloud rolled over the mountain and proceeded to drench us. It didn't take us long to retreat to the tents and there we sat for three long hours in one of the worst storms I have ever encountered. The lighting struck all around us and the thunder rattled our tents. It rained so hard that within an hour water was running through the tents and filling the campsite. I had to chuckle to myself because I had just told the boys that I was hoping I would see it rain just once on the trip.

Obviously, I got my wish.

Isn't it amazing how weather so often seems extreme to us. It doesn't seem to matter where we live we are usually getting too much or not enough of whatever it is we really want or need. It seems like when I lived in northern Montana we had too much snow and cold winter winds. When I resided in Oregon we had too much rain and too many gloomy days. This summer I am wondering if it will ever rain again.

I guess if it was as easy as asking, I'd just ask for our fair share of moisture and it would come when we needed it.

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