This morning I picked up a rental car (a Ford Taurus), packed up my gear with Big Bend National Park (on the Rio Grande) as my goal. About 150 miles out of El Paso, I called the dealer to see how my car was doing. Good news, it should be ready tomorrow morning. But then I had to decide what to do, drive the additional 200 miles to the park only to have to leave fairly early to get back to El Paso before the dealer closed for the weekend (stranding me without my car for three more days, or head back to another night in a hotel in El Paso? I opted to go see the park.
I am very happy with my choice, today has been the most amazing show I've ever seen. I'll bet I've seen more lightning today than that the rest of my life. Hundreds of bolts, in all forms imaginable. The clouds are high, so visibility is excellent. The bolts light up the landscape like day, sometimes for seconds. The silhouette of the mountains with the jagged white fire behind is primal, beautiful, and terrifying. As I sit in my tent the storm rages on all sides with the lighting striking on all sides, maybe 5-10 bolts a minute. So far the striking points seem fairly distant. The storm seems to be worsening, I hope my tent can handle the wind. I'm not looking forward to packing up in this rain.
I am fairly certain now that my tent will not hold up the night. The winds are bending the poles so that it is almost flat. As soon as the rain slacks off even a little I'm going to load everything in the car, so I can make a quick getaway if (or when) needed. The lightning is getting much closer, the thunder is making my ears ring. This could be a long night. Ok, now I'm stuck in my car, waiting for the rain to drop off a little so that I can make it back to the tent. Everything is packed, except my tent, sleeping pad, and a sheet (it's still plenty warm out).