Arrived at the parking spot and made ready my backpack and supplies for the 2 hour sweat-a-thon hike to the claim and back. The weather said a 20% chance of lightning so I kept an eye out for rain clouds. The clouds pop up suddenly from behind the top of the steep mountainside where the claim is.
It was sunny when I left the truck. Immediately as I began walking I kept an eye out for people and bears. Not another person or vehicle in sight, as is usually the case. Then I began looking closely for new things to see and appreciate. Early into the hike, in the grasses surrounding the familiar 2-track I noticed a couple flowers I’d not seen before.
“Mountain Golden Banner”
After about a half-hour of clawing over boulders and pushing aside Aspen saplings. a cloud emerged over the top of the claim. I still had another 30 minutes to hike and the cloud suggested to me that rain could be coming soon and with certainty. I decided to continue to the claim because it seemed like the cloud was only letting off a very light rain and it was pushing off to the southwest so that it wouldn’t pass directly over me. I also heard no thunder anywhere, and I was determined to take a quick look for rocks and retrieve the trail-cam I’d left set a month ago.
I ascended the final, steep, 100 yards scanning for treasure on the broken granite and found nothing noteworthy by the time I reached the location of the trail-cam. I removed the cam from it’s perch and wandered around the area, taking in the view and looking for rocks, signs of wildlife, whatever.
After just a minute or two I heard a rumble of thunder coming from the valley next door where the clouds were passing -out of sight, but close. “No more leisurely kicking of the dirt today. This could get wet.”
Quickly decided it was time to head back to the truck. 45 minutes down the mountain and through the woods if I moved efficiently. Soon after my decision, light rain began falling from the passing cloud I thought I’d dodged. Not enough rain to warrant rain gear, but there was no telling what might be coming over the mountain peak I was evacuating. The thunder was becoming more frequent in the adjacent valley. I moved purposefully.
And…lucked out. The entire hike back I could hear the storm passing over the mountains just a mile or two away. 45 minutes later, tired, but dry and uninjured I arrived at the truck.
As I was getting ready to leave this beetle swooped in by me and landed in the grass next to the truck: I assumed it was an Emerald Ash Borer and got ‘defensive’ because “that’s an invasive species!” Turns out it’s a Blue Fungus Beetle. Perfectly harmless, native, friendly, hey everybody likes them. Go figure.
Got home an hour later and inspected the trail-cam pics. I hoped to catch an image of a mule deer or bighorn in that spot, but…no. Still, the cam took about 80 pics over a month and it’s always sort of interesting to watch the weather pass in front of it. It’s also interesting to see how the lighting changes the look of the land.