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Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in GA. Settled into my tent with two buddies. I took a direct lightning strike inside the tent. They were three feet from me and didn’t get popped. Tent disintegrated. Legs messed up, couldn’t walk. Soaked by the storm. Somehow crawled/hopped into a ravine at lower elevation and slept there that night in a sopping wet sleeping bag.

Got struck on Blood Mountain….how about that?


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I posted this a while ago, but the most miserable and scariest night in the mountains was a mid-late aug sheep hunt in northern BC in 2016. Here’s what I posted in another thread.

We use either a Hilleberg Nalo 3 GT or a Golite SL 4 modified to use 6” Ti Goat cylinder stove on our yearly Stone sheep hunts here in BC.
In 2016 we were camped high up on the side of a mountain with no cover and a storm hit over night. It was the worst storm I’ve ever experienced. We were using the Hilleberg. Extreme wind with driving snow. One corner of the tent pulled up in the wind in the middle of the night. We were trying to hold everything down from the inside in complete darkness. Finally got it restaked but it had badly bent one pole and luckily didn’t break it. It was below freezing but the humidity was so high and the wind so violent that it was a constant mist storm inside the tent. All we could do was zip up in our bags and shiver the night away hoping the tent would hold up. Our bags were very wet and we were very close to hypothermia. Glad it only lasted one night. Got up the next morning to snow everywhere. We decided to head out of the mountains and it snowed and rained for the next 5 days but without much wind.
Long winded story but I don’t think the Golite would have stood up to that, and the results could have been deadly. Ever since then I just can’t bring myself to take tipi and stove on a sheep/goat hunt.

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Originally Posted by Godogs57
Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in GA. Settled into my tent with two buddies. I took a direct lightning strike inside the tent. They were three feet from me and didn’t get popped. Tent disintegrated. Legs messed up, couldn’t walk. Soaked by the storm. Somehow crawled/hopped into a ravine at lower elevation and slept there that night in a sopping wet sleeping bag.

Got struck on Blood Mountain….how about that?

That’s amazing, and tops my experience for sure.

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Originally Posted by Godogs57
Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in GA. Settled into my tent with two buddies. I took a direct lightning strike inside the tent. They were three feet from me and didn’t get popped. Tent disintegrated. Legs messed up, couldn’t walk. Soaked by the storm. Somehow crawled/hopped into a ravine at lower elevation and slept there that night in a sopping wet sleeping bag.

Got struck on Blood Mountain….how about that?

Lightening strikes in the mountains, particularly when you're exposed above tree-line, is a danger that people who aren't familiar with mountain storms often don't even know to plan for. I carry a bamboo walking stick when we hike above tree-line in Colorado, as the aluminum alloy trekking poles that many people favor can act like lightening rods in that environment.

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In the early 70's myself and a friend were hunting ducks very far back up in the marsh above the Trinity Bay head near Houston. Going in and the day before there was a very strong south wind blowing which filled the marsh and allowed us to penetrate very deeply with a conventional boat and motor, 16 ft aluminum and 20 horse in our case. About mid-morning a very strong (30+ mph wind; driving rain and later sleet) front blew in at the same time as the tide fell and the whole marsh drained. We were trapped as the boat wouldn't float enough that we could pole out. The rain eventually slaked off but the temps went down into the low 20's that night. We ended up huddled behind some tall marsh grass clumps overnight. We were dressed well but it sure wasn't fun.
Folks knew where were hunting but they were getting anxious by the time we finally got out about late afternoon the next day.

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Just a scare. A night in the Minam Wilderness (NE Oregon after elk). A tornado of sorts came through midnight with the classic train roar coming down the canyon. Sheared off three very large live tamarack each landing literally within feet on three sides of our wall tent. No damage to tent or picketed horses, but any and all could have been squashed the two of us like a bug. Never went back to that site.

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WOW! Some great stories and some tough experiences. Kaboku's is a zinger!
 
I’ve slept on the ground over 300 nights of my life, 11 of those unplanned. Several of those were with no tent/sleeping bag, and yet I can’t think of any that were truly miserable, even one in a damp/wet sleeping bag in a violent sleet storm. Synthetic bag felt like a sauna but was warm.

A fearful night was spent in a goat bed with pebbles falling from the cliff above. I tried to do too much before dark and found myself on the dead end of the goat trail in pitch dark. The only safe course was to stop in the only level spot, not quite as big as my bod. I had pad, sleeping bag and a tarp to roll around my pack and myself. If it had started raining, bringing down more and larger rocks, I planned to crawl down and around the fearsome steep talus below me, to get away from the impact zone at the base of the cliff, and hope there was no cliff dropping off below.

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Tag. Good stories to read later


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Wanna say I've been plenty wet, and cold a few times
And I've spent nights in cold wet conditions, properly equipped and relatively comfortable
Knock on wood; Never had the kind of failure or circumstance that left me dangerously wet and cold overnight

My dad and I never got along all that well, but if he were alive today I'd thank him for his pessimistic sour attitude. The man taught me that everything that might go wrong, should be expected
The man died decades before the saying "Two is one and one is none" was coined. But that's how he lived (of course, my brother and I carried everything extra)


"Chances Will Be Taken"


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Originally Posted by 260Remguy
Originally Posted by Godogs57
Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in GA. Settled into my tent with two buddies. I took a direct lightning strike inside the tent. They were three feet from me and didn’t get popped. Tent disintegrated. Legs messed up, couldn’t walk. Soaked by the storm. Somehow crawled/hopped into a ravine at lower elevation and slept there that night in a sopping wet sleeping bag.

Got struck on Blood Mountain….how about that?

Lightening strikes in the mountains, particularly when you're exposed above tree-line, is a danger that people who aren't familiar with mountain storms often don't even know to plan for. I carry a bamboo walking stick when we hike above tree-line in Colorado, as the aluminum alloy trekking poles that many people favor can act like lightening rods in that environment.

laugh The ex and I were walking the bluffs near the sea caves at Meyers Beach on Superior's south shore. We had stopped at a Gander in Wausau on our way up, and she'd bought an aluminum hiking staff.
Big thunderstorm was rolling in fast, and the lightning was close enough to be a real concern. She began moving almost carelessly fast trying to get off the bluffs and back to the Suburban. She looked back at me and yelled, "Can't you keep up?" I yelled back that "I maybe could, but you're the one carrying the lightning rod"...

If I had a pic of her face, right then...


"Chances Will Be Taken"


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Thought it would be a good idea to moose hunt in a September flood tide in 1984, up the Little Susitna River starting at Port of Anchorage and running across the Cook Inlet! In one of those narrow bow 17 ft Grizzly boats with the little inboard 2 strokes! Used up about 1/2 our fuel trying to find the Little Sue in the braided inlet! Made it in the river went quite a ways upstream and anchored up.
About midnight we were drifting back into the inlet with flood logs and debris no lights, got the boat going and went back upstream in a flood tide, to a tidal gut and re anchored. Tidal guts are narrow and steep but do not look that way when tide is in, bottom nothing but silt, think quicksand, you cant step out of the boat, big mistake.

Spent 6 lovely hrs when the boat went hi and dry at an angle where we had to brace ourselves to keep from sliding, lots of fun, then 6 more hrs waiting for the tide wondering if the narrow stern would float or swamp. Boat floated and we went home, have not been back in the upper Cook Inlet since 1984!

Native boats that run those waters are wide in the stern and bow to refloat if boat goes hi and dry, ours was not!

Flood tides in the Cook inlet can exceed 32 ft second highest in the world as I recall.

Bore tides
https://www.alaska.org/advice/alaska-bore-tide

Last edited by kk alaska; 02/06/24.

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Spent 4 plus years in the USMC, all infantry. Too many miserable nights and days spent out to count. Frostbite in Korea, 6 inches of rain in 3 hours at LeJeune, leeches and vampire bats in Panama, lightening strikes and tornadoes at Fort Pickett, a few nights trying to catch a few minutes of sleep on top of a pile of rubble that was a barracks building in Beirut.
Lots of miserable nights..... that last one still causes a sleepless night occasionally.


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Special Forces: 29 years and many parachute jumps. February near Khe Sanh, 1971. Mortars
and various flavors of incoming rounds. There is always somethin in a combat zone that will keep you cussin or prayin".


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Originally Posted by Brad
I have spent night's in crippling humidity and heat, merciless sub zero temps, cold and drenched in water, muggy and bug ridden nights, but the worst night I ever spent was in 1976 on the Appalachian Trail - we pulled in to a lean-to in the evening and settled in for the night. Later that evening a couple showed with a dog. Today dogs are ubiquitous, but in the 1970's (thankfully) it was fairly rare to see a hiker/backpacker with a dog. Anyway, they proceeded to tie the dog up on a short leash at the front of the lean-to. Sometime in the middle of the night barking brought me out of a deep sleep from the commotion. Then the smell. Skunk. Yup, the dog decided to tangle with a skunk, which unloaded its full arsenal right into the lean-to. I choked the remainder of the night under the merciless tyranny of that scent. I never could get all the odor out of my down bag.

I will never be a fan of dogs in the backcountry...
Had the folks took the dog in with them like they should have, it would have been a non issue. People ain't to bright most times.


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As for me, I dont have a single miserable night in the woods, ever. Came out on the wrong road once when I was 18 and walked miles to find a logger that knew where are car was... I also was flathead catfishing about 25 yrs. ago in July. I had the tent and campfire all going just fine and was noticing there sure is a lot of fireworks out that way for no town being near there. it got closer and realized it was a big thunder storm coming in.. I high tail it down the river at night and i was plenty good enough to have my boat on plain , until it started raining . When rains hits the river water , it makes it impossible to see where the sand bars are. I got caught on a big sand bar and could not see where the deeper water was so I push the boat up stream and found my way out i a lightning storm and was drenched and cold , .. I am always very careful and rarely get remotely in trouble.


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Originally Posted by kk alaska
Thought it would be a good idea to moose hunt in a September flood tide in 1984, up the Little Susitna River starting at Port of Anchorage and running across the Cook Inlet! In one of those narrow bow 17 ft Grizzly boats with the little inboard 2 strokes! Used up about 1/2 our fuel trying to find the Little Sue in the braided inlet! Made it in the river went quite a ways upstream and anchored up.
About midnight we were drifting back into the inlet with flood logs and debris no lights, got the boat going and went back upstream in a flood tide, to a tidal gut and re anchored. Tidal guts are narrow and steep but do not look that way when tide is in, bottom nothing but silt, think quicksand, you cant step out of the boat, big mistake.

Spent 6 lovely hrs when the boat went hi and dry at an angle where we had to brace ourselves to keep from sliding, lots of fun, then 6 more hrs waiting for the tide wondering if the narrow stern would float or swamp. Boat floated and we went home, have not been back in the upper Cook Inlet since 1984!

Native boats that run those waters are wide in the stern and bow to refloat if boat goes hi and dry, ours was not!

Flood tides in the Cook inlet can exceed 32 ft second highest in the world as I recall.

Bore tides
https://www.alaska.org/advice/alaska-bore-tide


Kk, spent the night across the inlet high and dry with my new bride (now much happier ex-bride) 4th of July, maybe 07 or 08. It was rather awkward, and I do recall a discussion about how if the boat didn't float, I'd not have the chance to drown, as I would be suffering from lead poisoning.

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Too many to count. Everything from wild horses and venomous snakes to frostbite and rhabdo.

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I caved with the NSS for about 5 years.

In 1983, I was on an expedition that was mapping Fisher Ridge Cave. It's now part of the Mammoth system. Back then it was separated from Mammoth by another system.

I went in with 4 other guys. Two guys brought in tools to widen out a hole in the wall that had been felt to be blowing, so it was assumed there was more cave on the other side. I went with a another two guys back to the furtherest part of the known cave and map it using a compass and inclinometer. While I was back in a passage about 100 meters, my carbide light got blown out. I relit it and it promptly blew out again with a breeze coming the other direction. When I came back out the two guys with me were white-faced with fear. There must me one hell of a storm going on, and they knew we had to skedaddle. As we retraced our steps, dry cave started to drip. Drips were now streams. Streams were torrents. We had about 4 hours of this before we reached the exit. There was no sign of the other two guys. I was the junior of the bunch, so they had me go out first. The egress was through 100 meters of hand-and-knees crawl with influx water. The water was coming up fast. I ran out of ceiling with about 10 feet to go before daylight. I sucked some air off the roof and went for it. The two guys behind me found a crease and floated out on their backs. The two guys behind them didn't make it out.

I was told to stay at the entrance and help the two guys if they tried to make it out, while the other two guys went for help. While standing at the entrance in the rain, I heard an ominous rushing sound and look back up the stream in the gathering gloom of twilight and saw a 3 foot wall of water coming down the valley. I threw myself on some roots and managed to get up out of the entrance before I got sucked in. At this point, the two guys still in were either drowned or they had gone deep and high in the cave and were safe. I went up out of the ravine about 50 meters, stripped off my wet gear and got under a poncho. Another thunderstorm came through about 2200. All of a sudden I heard the back of my neck sizzle and before I could investigate, lightning struck an oak tree about 10 meters off.

That was enough for me. I met the rescue team about halfway back to the road and told them there was nothing to be done at the entrance. It was dumped shut. I got to go back and tell one of our fellow cavers that her husband of ten years and her current lover were flooded in. My buddy and I stayed up with her at a Carters restaurant all night. At first light, I was packing for the rescue trip when I was informed I was scratched because of obvious fatigue. My buddy went. There was another entrance to the cave and conceivably the two missing cavers could be reached by that route. About noon the rescue team showed back up with the two guys. They had been about 15 minutes behind us, and seen a wall of water coming down the entrance passage and closing it off. They beat it back, but took a wrong turn and almost had the water get ahead of them. They finally made dry cave after an hour or two.

NSS cavers know to carry a big leaf bag and three plumbers candles as a latch-ditch measure. You crawl into the bag, sit with your knees up around your chin and light a candle. It's enough heat to keep you from dying from hypothermia. The two guys were down to their last stub of candle when found-- 15 hours.


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Wow that is amazing, so the two guys made it out alive. That’s incredible I’ve ton my share of caving and it definitely makes my balls tingle. I can not imagine underwater caving where crap can really go bad quick


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Nothing too extreme in the least, but inconvenient it was. It was "chilly" for southern Az, slightly below freezing. I had a pretty good battle with the runs, spilled water on my sleeping bag, and didn't have a level bed, or a decent pillow.

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