The Washington State Highway 20 bridge over Early Winter's Creek.
The Hwy separates the campground into north and south areas.
We camped to the north and had that area to ourselves.
Catherine pointing out where she and her family had set up an
extended camp when she was a teenager.
Catherine enjoying a nice weather, quiet afternoon at
Early Winter's Campground and the nearby
creek. Unbeknownst to us at this time but this stream
was to undergo major changes during the night.
|Burn Ban? What Burn Ban???|
|A significant change in the creek in less than 12 hours.|
The next day N.O.A.H reported nearly 2,000 lightning strikes across the state and over 2 inches of rain in some areas fell in less than 6 hours. Here’s a complied image showing Early Winter’s Creek to the left at approximately 1900:hours on 09/05/13 with me doing a polar bear plunge and then a photo from the same location at approximately 12 hours later on 09/06/13. Pretty darn substantial change.
Backing up a bit: after enjoying a glass of wine at the fire we were sleeping in the camper when all of a sudden Catherine, Pinja and I were all awakened by a brilliant light and an explosion of thunder. "Wow! That was close!" was the general sentiment. Between the flashes of lightning and the blasts of thunder the wind was howling, causing the camper to shudder, and huge rain drops were pelting the thin roof inches above us. The storm kept our crew awake for a bit but soon with Pinja hiding under the covers and Catherine snoring away I was the only sleepless one.
And I was sweating. Hmm... Kick off some covers and go back to sleep - no go. Booms of thunder, flashes of lightning, pounding rain and camper-rocking winds. Hmm... My pulse is up and I've got a little bit of jitters. Howling winds and I hear a tree cracking and branches falling as the rain pounds our protection shell and the lightning flashes and the thunder cracks in crisp electric percussions. Hmm... is that a pain in my chest? And so it was I passed several hours of the night weighing the options: Do I rouse the crew and break camp and drive through the storm to seek help? There is no cell service in the campground. Do I drive until we can call 911 and make arrangements to meet the ambulance, telling them I have a possible heart attack - leaving Catherine to fend for herself in this storm. Probably better than her waking next to a corpse, but heck, driving a camper down the road at night in these winds with this much rain in such a storm isn't going to be easy for anyone. But I'm a fire chief, I'm medically trained - this isn't a heart attack. Is it?
Several self-assessments, a lot of deep breathing and a few hours pass. The storm abates to "normal" levels - so do I. Sleep finds me. Morning comes...
Morning for our crew means COFFEE. I brew a pot, serve Cathy and decline one myself. She notices immediately. I tell her about my night.
"Happy Birthday to you... Happy Birthday to you...
Happy Birthday dear Catherine... Happy Birthday to you"...
Yes indeed I did sing to her as Wenatchee Valley nurses and aids wired me up, checked me out, and after three hours in the E.R. gave me a clean bill of health.
So what was up? Well as the good doctor said, "we really didn't check you for what was wrong, but we did check you for a cardiac emergency. You are not, nor did not recently have one". What we determined was the likely cause relates back to the opening paragraph of this blog. "I'm not an ideal patient". I'd been neglecting to eat when I took the pain-meds for my lower back. Those meds wreck havoc on the stomach and it appears that I had a substantial bout of upper intestinal gas reflex. Add the hostile environment of the major storm and a few other stressors and, well there you have it. Three things good I can say about this situation is:
- Wenatchee Valley Hospital E.R. ROCKS! You folks were great.
- Catherine has incredible patience and a very positive outlook on it all...
- We got out in time to make the run over Stevens Pass in the daylight and managed to hook up in our friends driveway in the fine little city of Mukilteo, Washington...
|Mukilteo's waterfront park deck-out for the celebrations.|
|Our dear friend Liza and Catherine share the sunshine and a |
smile on this fine afternoon.
|Waterfront seats, local brew, a glass of red, a late afternoon|
sun and good friends. It has the making of a fine day.
|Fireworks during the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival celebrations.|
Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival
Pinja thinks she's a lab, loves the water and delights in being allowed to chase the gulls off the beach. Granted she is cautiously weary about those breaking waves plunging up onto the beach and has yet to get rolled by one of them...