... when all of a sudden, the space between flashes and cracks becomes non-existent. I'm screaming and cowering like a maniac when my husband finds an abandoned permafrost research trailer. Crawling underneath and huddling with our dogs, we push away all scraps of metal and rock upward on the balls of our rubber-soled Chacos, just in case.
A steady sheet of hail begins pounding into the ground around us, and we cower like children, shivering from chill and fear. Colorado is known for its unpredictable and fast-moving weather patterns, so we hang tight for about 40 minutes, listening to the lightning's rumble and crack as it spreads past the Rocky Mountains and begins advancing toward the Front Range.
Timing our exit to coincide with the storm's retreat, we hurry a few steps through the stillness before the distant blast of lightning at our backs informs us that a new storm has decided to follow in our storm's wake. Cursing my lack of fitness at 10,000ft above sea level, I wobble down the trail after my husband, slipping on some loose rocks and wiping out in a flurry of mud and flesh. My shins and knees, scoured and muddy, bleed in crimson rivers all the way back to our car--where we collapse, dizzy and aching, from exhaustion.
There is a certain madness borne of close-calls, so it's only a few moments before I find myself slipping into hysterics. Laughing at my bloody knees, laughing at our stench, laughing at our dogs and laughing at my husband's drowned rat hair. Laughing in relief, and laughing at my sudden craving for macaroni and cheese.
Which, upon our return to civilization, is exactly what we eat.