10 - 12
Serendipity or Just Bad Luck?
The weather report called for partly cloudy as we headed out of town, so we thought nothing of the few squalls we drove through on our way to Berkeley to gather the rest of my stuff. Berkeley was dry and we loaded the van and were on the road--hopefully--in time to miss traffic, with assurances from Aaron that this was the tail end of the storm. Driving down into Walnut Creek the weather looked to be clearing and we were moving along at full speed.
We started hitting serious traffic in Livermore. Now it wasn't yet 4pm and Livermore is a long way from the city so I was a little miffed. Then the rain started.
Light at first, so I thought we were just hitting another squall. However, as we descended into the Sacramento Valley the rain became torrid. By Manteca, the sides of the roads were flooded and traffic was barely moving. When we left Berkeley, I had hoped to be doing last-minute gear organizing in Yosemite by 6:30. At 6:30 we were moving through Oakdale at a crawl.
Beginning to get concerned I turned on a local radio station for some weather. The guy on the radio said "Very, and I mean very, a 10% chance of showers tonight. Partly cloudy tomorrow." Bob had been sleeping for awhile. This woke him up, "Doesn't that guy ever look outside?"
Still hopeful we grabbed some groceries
and headed east. Outside of Oakdale the weather got worse. As we crested a hill
you could see the Sierra's ahead. They were dark black.
"That looks terrible" said Bob. A flashing sign warned us that the Sonora Pass had been closed, and in a few minutes our visibility was down to a few feet. The sides of the road were now completely flooded. Maybe it was partly cloudy. Maybe we were just in the clouded part and it had been following us for the last three hours.
A quick call to Hans assured us that if the weather was this bad our chances of being on El Cap in 30 hours were not good. We decided to cut our losses at turn around. In the end it was another marathon driving day, 17 hours. Instead of training for a fitness challenge I feel more like I'm training to be a truck driver.
The biggest problem with this change of plans is the moon. We will now most likely not be able to climb under a full moon, and that sucks. Also, I suppose I will now need to combine some events so we can add some travel time to Yosemite. And I lost the rest day that I've been looking forward to more than anything in a long time.
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