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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lightning Rod Hat.

So I have this hat...

So yeah. Day one of a 6 day, 5 night, 2,000+ mile drive with 100 eighth grade students. One of the stops along the way is Bryce Canyon. Cool place, lots of fun stuff to see, plus after a bit of a hike the kids are tired enough to sleep all night on the bus.

Small problem- its raining. On the way up its full on downpour complete with enough hail to cover the ground / road to look like snow, and cause a truck to slide off the road and roll.

We weren't sure what to do. By the time we got to the parking area the rain had pretty much quit, and the storm had moved a ways away. We got the kids off the bus and headed towards the bathroom. The tour director and I headed over to the trailhead to check out the situation. 

We got up to the rim trail and walked along the edge a bit. It was obvious that the trail was waaayyyy too muddy- people coming out were drenched and had 50 lbs of gooey muck stuck to each foot. We wandered over to Sunset Point, which you can see at the bottom right of this map.


If you zoom in on it you can sorta tell what its like- it juts out over the edge of the hoodoos and gives a great view of the Wall Street trail. We're just standing there, minding our own business... I happened to be standing in a small puddle.

Just above the brim of my hat I see the bolt fall and curve towards me, and at the same time hear the air SIZZLE like when you drip some water in a pan of hot oil and ZAP. Little tingly feeling on the top of my head.

I don't know if I ducked, or if I convulsed, or what, but as I did I hollered and my hat somehow ended up several feet off to my side, next to the other counselor. I was still ducked, and we looked back and forth from the hat to each other about 4 times and we asked each other "Did that really just happen?! " before the thunder finally hit and jarred us into action. We took off running and all of the nice tourists standing around with shocked looks on their faces kinda slowly turned around and started scooting out of there.

Surreal experience. Very lucky it was a baby lightning bolt- it felt like someone had stuck one of those therapy electric shocker thingys on my head.

No marks on that hat, no known side effects / superpowers, other than being called "Sparky" for the next 5 days.

Apparently, lightning strikes up there are not too uncommon as illustrated by this awesome sign...

If only that sign had been down by the main parking area...  They even have a Don't Get Zapped section on their website where you can take a quiz and print out a certificate so's you know you won't get struck by lighting.  On my list of things to do now!

Ready for the irony?  Not 5 minutes before this happened, we were on the bus and the students were joking with my about my Lightning Rod Hat, saying how they wanted to be struck by lightning.  Guess we forgot to knock on wood!

The rest of the trip went smooth- Dodgers won their game, we saw 2 Blue Whales out on the ocean, found lots of interesting sea life in the tide pools including star fish and sea hares, road every ride possible at Sea World, Universal Studios, and California Adventure, and even managed to make it all the way back to lonely old Idaho without losing a single student.

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