We were 10 campers in five dome tents – seven men and three women – out on a wilderness island in the Allegheny River in Warren County, three miles upriver from Camp F-Troop and several miles from anywhere else the evening of June 5th, 2010, when a monster storm we’d been tracking electronically all day veered north of its probable path and slammed us.
From midnight until 8:00 a.m. – when we lucked into a break in the weather and scrambled out of our tents and into our canoes to head downstream to camp – we endured monsoon rains, brilliant flashes of lightning, thunderous thunder and bitter, high-pitched winds all night long. Four of us were outdoors writers, one a well-known naturalist and columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, another a geologist and the rest competent hikers, canoers and wilderness enthusiasts.
Yet none of us showed enough caution or foresight to avoid the storm, and afterwards, we expressed new-found confidence in our quality dome tents, outdoor equipment and canoe gear and pride in our fortitude for toughing out the night. Still, take my advice and don’t ever try this at home.
~ Don Feigert, 06-15-10