Sometimes I wonder how I survived.

There are times when I look back at some of my experiences and decisions on my Walk and think to myself, how the heck did I actually survive that?  Like this one from day 2 in Hancock, Maryland where I was hiding from a massive storm:


The funny thing about this video is it wasn’t until I was watching it last night that I realized that what I called a fire station alarm was most likely a TORNADO SIREN OMG.  And it had gone off three times already.  And there I was sitting in a wire and aluminum shelter.  Seriously, how did I survive this trip?


To be fair, I had been listening to my little weather radio and was aware of tornado spottings in the area. It’s just…I’m from Maine, people. We don’t have tornado sirens here. If you hear a siren it’s a pretty sure bet that it’s just the fire station downtown. Logically I knew about tornado and storm sirens, I just didn’t think about it at the time. Thankfully I was lucky and no tornadoes actually touched down where I was. I remember hearing about one or two little ones in the nearby areas, but only golf ball sized hail, strong winds, thunder and rain where I was.

Honestly, I had the best luck along this trip. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but looking back I’m just constantly amazed at the dangers I narrowly avoided.


6 thoughts on “Sometimes I wonder how I survived.

    • It was! It’s funny, every time I look at a video or a picture I think about when it was and what happened next or right before. So while I was editing this video I was totally thinking about meeting you at Paw Paw!

  1. It really is funny because even coming from Tucson (another non-tornado place), as soon as I heard that siren I knew it was something more significant than a fire. I think your probably survived the trip because you just didn’t know enough to be in danger. You had a bubble of naive surrounding and protecting you. Thank goodness.

    • I am seriously the oddest mix of paranoia fueled research and knowledge, and weird obliviousness. I did so much research on tornadoes and dangerous weather conditions, so I just gotta laugh at my stupidity in the video.

      Though to be fair, I think as soon as I stopped this video is when I grabbed Anna and made for the nearest actual building I could find.

  2. I felt like I had amazing luck on my trip in 2009, too. The walking portion only took me partway across Oregon, but I felt like the weather Gods were on my side. I mean, I left in APRIL for god’s sake, and I had to cross the coast range mountains (which it can and does still snow in April on the mountains) first thing. No snow, and almost no rain. I did come a cross little bits of hail a couple of times and it sprinkled enough that I needed my rain poncho only a couple of times. But, this was for the ENTIRE MONTH of April. Okay, I’m talking OREGON, here. Do you know how unusual that is? For the most part, my temp during my walk was between 50-65 degrees, alternating between sunny and overcast. I didn’t come across snow until I reached the Oregon Cascades (at that point I think I was around 3000 feet in elevation), and that is where we stopped walking, in fact. It snowed on my last day on the trip (early May) before I went back in August and endured the heat of the desert in Eastern Oregon by bike.

    I’ve heard other walkers talk about their own trips and the horrible things Mother Nature did to them. I think it was Jim Abbot who said that he got hit in the head with a lemon sized chunk of hail and his body with even bigger hailstones. Guy’s lucky to be alive! Another walker (I don’t recall his name at the moment) was down in Florida (I think on an island?) during some major flooding and was stuck until the floodwaters receded.

    So–yeah. You were fortunate! But I think dealing with mother nature is part of the adventure. Coming out alive gives us some really great stories to tell our grandchildren (when we have them someday, lol).

    • It’s funny because during the Walk I would never in a millions years have said I was lucky when it came to weather. Many tornado warnings in MD and PA, record highs from the first day all the way to Utah, that weird “heat dome” with ridiculous muggy hot weather in the midwest…..but even through all that I remained unharmed and healthy, so in a way I *was* really lucky.

      It’s so funny to talk with other thru-walkers and hikers because by far the horrible weather is one thing we all end up talking about. Not people or bears or animals, it’s always the hail storm, or tornado, or heat wave, or freak snow storm…etc etc etc. lol

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