Storm at Vera Lake
After fighting our way across Vera Lake in the estimated 35 mph winds, we scrambled to get everything set up amongst the nearly continuous thunder. Lightning began slashing through the sky mainly still to our southwest. It was a mad dash for everything. We got the canoe flipped over, got the tarp out and covered everything up. Set the tent up, whipped on the rain fly, and no more than 30 seconds later it began to pour. The raindrops were getting rather large, and from the way the storms were looking earlier in the day, I was expecting hail. Those white areas are rain drops that reflected the flash of the camera, not hail.
Tracy showing our contigency plan if it indeed started to hail. Yes, we were prepared to wear life jackets on our head to avoid getting biffed by hail. Meanwhile, lightning continued everywhere. We mainly stayed near the firepit, and never felt any precursors to lightning (hair standing up). Thankfully no one got sizzled.
I was watching the storm intently for any signs of rotation. Wouldn't that be our luck, get caught by a tornado out in the Boundary Waters. When the storm was moving in, there were signs that it was a rotating storm (that is, striations - meaning almost horizontal 'lines' around the cumulonimbus cloud tower). As the storm passed to our east moving northeast, I observed the wind change from north-northeasterly to more southwesterly. There was also a slight lowering evident in the storm, but nothing pronounced that you could call a wall cloud. It was definitely an interesting afternoon.
This picture was taken a couple minutes later. Near the center of the picture, just going behind the trees, was the most sinister-looking lowering apparent in this storm. No tornado was ever reported, but there was already tons of damage from the windstorm in 1999 and there aren't exactly tons of observers out in the Boundary Waters. I'm just glad there was no damage where we were.
As this storm continued off to the northeast away from us, it shot out a bolt of lightning about 3 miles east of our location, probably on one of the portages we traversed earlier! We noticed smoke coming from that area, as it looked like the lightning ignited a small fire. Luckily the ground was so wet, nothing major started. You can see the smoke just above the trees in the center of the picture.
This is the patch of blue sky that just kept taunting us the entire trip. On the days it was cloudy it kept doing this just to taunt us. And it meant it again today. During this break in the rain, we half-heartedly attempted to start a fire (we covered a little wood with plastic when we got there before it started raining). After giving up on that, we decided to hang up the food as there was a report of a bear swiping food on the other side of this lake!
This is Tracy trying to look cool. Actually, I put the hat on him and snapped the picture before he could move. Note the look of disgust on his face. Also note the tent in the background. One more item, the suspiciously black clouds moving in. Yep, it started pouring a few minutes after this picture and hadn't stopped when we fell asleep. We didn't even have dinner this night. Just played some cards, talked, and went to bed. Thankfully no bear attacks, either.
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