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With as much rain as we have had here in the Southeast this spring, I feel lucky that our family has been able to camp a handful of times in dry weather. However, our weekend plans to camp in Great Smokey Mountain National Park have been doused by storms plaguing the area this weekend.

When telling our kids the bad news, I faced questions such as “what would happen if lightning hit the tent?” And “how wet would we get if we went anyway?” I was surprised by their responses but concluded that their sense of adventure and willingness to try to fish and camp in any weather must be genetic.

I love being a stay at home mom. But when others are posting giant trout pictures on social media and I am cleaning up Cheerios off the floor for the tenth time that day, I get a little antsy.

Approximately four springs ago, I was in this exact situation. My dad, sensing my growing frustration, suggested we drive to North Carolina and hit up some delayed harvest trout water that had recently been stocked. We fished steadily from mid morning to late afternoon, catching a handful of fish each.

As the day went on, the sky steadily grew darker and rumbles of thunder could be heard in the distance. In what seemed like minutes, the storm was on us and dad and I were suddenly aware of how conductive our fishing rods might be. We scrambled under a bridge nearby just as a crack of lightning struck several yards away. We huddled under the bridge for ten minutes discussing a game plan to get back to the truck if the storm happened to get worse, which it did.

We tried to time the crack of lightning with our exit plan and sprint back to the truck, all the while feeling the hair on our arms and necks stand on end with the electricity in the air. We made it to the truck, and finally relaxed enough to laugh our stormy adventure.

I don’t remember how many fish we caught at the stream that day, or even if there were any big ones, but I still feel the hair on my neck stand on end as I write about our plight that day. Since that day, I have learned to check the hourly weather more closely during spring and summer so hopefully that day won’t repeat itself. I can also now explain to my kids exactly what would happen if lightning struck our tent and why I would like to avoid that situation.


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