Monday, August 16, 2010

We dodged a BIG Bullet!

Everything happens for a purpose.  That's our mantra.  We live by that mantra.  We repeat it often to ourselves: Everything happens for a purpose.  Generally, we never know the purpose until MUCH later.  It' uncommon to learn the purpose of something soon after it happens.  Typically, it takes a long time to learn the purpose of stuff.  We always trust that we will eventually learn the purpose of stuff sooner or later but it doesn't matter how soon or how late.  It's all part of the plan.

Soooo....we dutifully show up here in Salmon and go about our business in a methodical and efficient manner.  We have a very productive day.  Happy Hour arrives and we sit happily staring off the balcony at the Salmon River while reading the local weekly newspaper.  As I am reading this broadsheet old-style throwback newspaper I come across all these stories of mayhem and, yes, even death.  They are scary stories and they all happened August 5th.

A gigantic, galactic storm blew through Salmon about 4 pm August 5th.  It killed a cowboy and his horse when lightning struck them.  A tree fell on a 79-year-old BLM Campground Host at Shoup Bridge, breaking all kinds of bones and basically crushing him into near oblivion.  He's lucky to be alive even if his life is now in the local hospital.

Meanwhile, trees fell like cheap dominoes and, by all accounts, Salmon City was a wreck that afternoon.  Trees fell across power lines and the local paper showed pictures of live arcs of electricity.  Mayhem was everywhere and the August 5th storm is already a local legend.  Just reading the stories about it gives me the shivers.

Well, I didn't make the connection right away.  I was reading these stories thinking OMG!  I was thinking WOW, those poor people, how terrible.  Finally, it dawned on me.  We were on target to be right in the middle of this deadly mayhem. We dodged a BIG Bullet on August 5th.

Think about this--we had a Game Plan that would have put us right smack dab at Ground Zero of this storm that day!!!!!!  We had planned to boat from Elk Bend to the Highway 93 Bridge in Salmon on August 5th!!!!!  Susun woke up that morning in Ellis and said, "John, I think we should only boat to the 11 Mile River Access Point."  Well, I took her opinion under advisement and we both left the Ellis campground driving North along the Salmon River with the full intention of driving all the way to Salmon City.

As I drove along I got to thinking about her intuition and I thought, "You know, Susun has a real point in her advice this morning.  I think she's on to something."  As we approached the 11 Mile river access point, I instinctively pulled off the road and drove down by the riverside.  We both got out of our vehicles and talked about it, discussing all the pros and cons of boating only to 11 Mile versus boating the additional eleven miles into Salmon.

The previous day had been 21 miles as I recall and I had stressed out my arm pretty badly.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make another 22-25 miles on August 5th.  We tossed all this back and forth and decided to listen to our Dear Friend, Prudence.  Prudence speaks very softly and sometimes it's hard to hear what she's saying.  But, Thank God and Our Guardian Angels that we decided to listen to Prudence that day.

We took out at 11 Mile about 2 pm August 5th.  As we drove back upriver toward Elk Bend, we could see the dark storm clouds gathering over Challis.  We never thought to look over our shoulders toward Salmon City.  As it turns out, Salmon City has an epic storm at 4 pm that day.

Now think about this--do the math.  We were at 11 Mile at 2 pm.  The current speed was 4 mph.  It would have taken at least 2 more hours to get to Salmon.  The storm hit Salmon at 4 pm.  Do the math.  If we would have stuck with our Plan A, we would have been right smack dab in the middle of complete and total absolute mayhem and we might even have wound up dead or disabled.

I gotta tell ya, this particular Happy Hour is colored with a whole new realization and appreciation for both what we did and what could have happened.  We're just danged fortunate that we paid attention to Prudence.

Thanks, Prudence, and Many Cheers!  J&S

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