Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tall Trees and Trouble

Ben Franklin, famous for a lot of things (and this is not a history lesson) had good reason to fly his kite in the greater Philadelphia region. There are a lot of lightning and thunder storms here, and we got a vivid example of the power of electricity while camped under tall trees and at the top of a hill at Thousand Trails, Hershey, PA. You do know, I am sure, not to seek refuge under a tall tree in a storm. But coming into a beautiful camp on a beautiful day, you don't think too much about that. Besides, many of the open area spots had already been taken by week enders who arrived earlier in the day than we did. So there we were. Dark fell on a balmy and otherwise pleasant night. A few hours later a storm raged through the area. The dog was scared. Marilyn was scared. I was NOT, well, OK , I was scared too. A little. But not so scared I didn't hit the sack for a good night's sleep. One bolt of lightening lit up the night sky in a real flash, followed immediately by a near sonic boom. A few seconds passed. No tree fell on me. So I went back to sleep. But in the morning the reason why the time between the lightning and the thunder was nearly non existent became abundantly clear.... A tall tree next to the site in front of us was hit by the bolt and literally split in half. The burn mark was apparent only at the point of contact. The bark- all of it, all the way around the trunk, was blown away. Half the tree came down, the other remained standing, but the crack that divided one half from the other was readily apparent, even on the portion of the tree that remained standing..

As I said, nothing had hit us. But this camper was not so lucky, and his truck which pulled his fifth wheel took a pretty good hit. That will ruin an otherwise lovely day!

Lots of campers tell us they love to set up under the trees for the shade and the birds and the cooler temperatures. We prefer the open sites. This is why! If you enlarge this photo- look to the right of the picture (to the left of the pickup)- that coach is ours- close!

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