Lightning fast


Haeleigh Bayle, Reporter

If you’ve ever read any of my past vacationing stories (or other adventure stories I’ve written) then you know that when my family and I go on hikes in the woods, we always endure some sort of trauma. But hey, it makes for a great story! If you haven’t checked out my other stories, you might want to head over and see for yourself what I’m talking about. If you’re interested in hearing another adventurous/traumatic experience, keep reading!

It all started when my parents thought it would be a great day to hike at our newly purchased property. (This was about seven years ago–we happily call the property home now.) The weather was great for hiking- a bit on the muggy side, though. Nonetheless, we loaded into the truck and headed over to the land. Clothed in big boots, long sleeves, pants, and ball caps, we hit the trails. Although, the trails were more like us forging ahead and trampling grass down to create a trail. I remember picking up sticks and playing with them and talking with my family as we walked. Seeing the different views of the ridges and creeks at my young age didn’t particularly interest me, but I still found them somewhat amusing.

After about one or two hours of hiking we decided to head back to the truck and go back to our house (at the time). However, after trudging back along the trails, we found that the sky was turning a darker and darker shade of grey. We picked up the pace, hoping to make it out of the woods before the rain decided to show up. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t do us a favor and hold off– instead it poured. We could see that the storm was going to pass over, and after a split-second decision, we jumped underneath a thicket of pine trees. The rain had then started pouring so hard we could hardly see a few feet in front of us, so trying to navigate on the trials would have been next to impossible. (And my youngest brother was about one or two at the time, so it probably wouldn’t have been great for him to be pelted with rain if we had tried to make a break for the truck.)

We had only been standing under the trees for a few minutes when out of nowhere a big crack of thunder shook the ground and a peel of lightning streaked down from the sky and hit the tree just beside us. I don’t remember seeing it hit or even hearing anyone say anything. All I remember is my whole body shaking, hearing an ear-splitting crack, and then looking at my parents with wide eyes. After a few seconds of the shock had worn off, my dad said, “Let’s see who can get to the truck the fastest.” With that, we all took off, bee-lining for the truck in an attempt to make it into the truck before lightning struck again.

I have no idea how, but I somehow managed to run so far ahead of everyone else, and when I reached the truck, I soon came to realize it was locked. Fear overtook my small body and I tugged harder on the door handle a few times–I’m not quite sure what I had hoped to accomplish by doing that, but nonetheless, I freaked out. After realizing that the door wouldn’t be unlocked by my pulling on it, I took to running laps around the truck out of complete fear. Another boom of thunder roared as I was thrown into hysteria and that ultimately fueled my crazy panic attack. I was zig-zagging around, sprinting back towards my parents, then back to the truck, pulling on the handle again, and then sprinting back towards my parents shouting “It’s LOCKED!” Even in the climax of the moment my parents laughed hysterically at my fear-driven craziness. Luckily, my dad unlocked the truck quickly (for my sake) and I hopped inside. They soon followed and we all just sat there in silence for a minute, then they started joking around with me about how crazy I looked. Which I have to admit, they probably weren’t wrong.

Still to this day my parents (especially my dad) make fun of me and my hysteria on that dreadful hike. Thankfully, I have learned to laugh it off, knowing that I was just a little kid at the time who was afraid of her own shadow. I also learned an important lesson that day: always try your best to stay calm in stressful times, because running around like a complete wacko isn’t the answer.