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Mountain Monsoon, Colorado Car Wash

A Hard Rain in the Mountains and the Threat of Hypothermia

End of July in the Colorado Rockies. A hard rain is a comin'. I'm coming down the trail with a huge black cloud behind me. The sun is gone and four o'clock looks like eight. I coax my lame Sheltie dog Roger to hurry along as best he can, and I'm ready to carry him if the cloud gets much closer - it's traveling at 10 to 20 miles an hour straight toward us. For added excitement and even terror, the thunder and lightning starts. Soon, tiny bits of hail spatter on my hood and Roger is getting wet, but his three layer coat keeps him warm. And I'm hobbling along in high gear with my twisted wooden cane. Then, the rain, or a better word for it, the car wash - like a high pressure hose from the sky - the "mountain monsoon". We're not in India, but the sheer force of that rain is the same. I always carry protective gear with me - a shell with a hood.Many tourists venture up the trail with shorts and a thin t shirt, and wind up with hypothermia. The Colorado mountains can become inhospitable in minutes - a dark cloud unseen behind a tall mountain can be on top of your head without warning. My dog and I make it back to the Jeep, and in ten minutes, the storm cell moves on and the sun comes out. A free car wash for the Jeep - until the muddy road splatters it all over again. The wildflowers are soaked and drooping. If the mountain monsoons continue daily for several more weeks, the mushrooms will come out and the flowers will be gone.