Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stormchasing with Briques du Neige: Memories of Irene

Despite the great pleasure I take in mocking the media overreaction to Tropical Storm (née Hurricane) Irene, especially when it comes to New York City, I have to say that I do quite enjoy following the storm itself.  It's really quite impressive!  I feel quite privileged being here in Montreal, as I got to get a nice taste of the storm without having to suffer any of its damage.

Though I knew I had to do go for a walk in the storm, I did have an internal debate early this afternoon and got out later than I wanted to.  As it turned out, it was probably for the best, as the majority of the branches that were going to fall had fallen.  There was quite a bit of damage.  I would not have felt comfortable being in the forest in the first couple hours of the storm.  As it was, I felt pretty tense for a lot of the trip.  You can't really relax when the wind is moving like that, even if you know the odds of something happening to be pretty low.  Up on the top, on the south-facing side, the wind was really ferocious.  It came in big, long gusts that drove the rain to the horizontal.  At one point, when I was just before an exposed gap on the trail, it got so loud that I felt the surging seed of panic in my breast.  I suppressed it and calmed myself down, but it was interesting to see how your physiology reacts to environmental stress.  It wasn't going so fast that I felt nervous about losing my footing, but I had to take care.  Maybe getting close to 40 km/h at the highest?  (hmm, the weather site is telling me the gusts can be getting up to 69 km/h!  I feel manly!)

Overall, it was an amazing walk.  Super intense.  The pictures don't capture what it was like to be in it and this is really pretty mild compared to what the people down south got (south of New York, I mean) and along the coasts got, but it still felt amazingly powerful and vast.  I really got a sense that I was hanging out on the fringes of a major weather system that had travelled up the continent to get to me.
Here's a pretty big tree that came down up near the Grandeur Nature field

This guy was up on the battlefield plateau, just next to the field itself and—I kid you not—he was wearing a wizard cape and appeared to be performing magical ceremonies.  After I took this picture, he sprang up and the ground where he'd been leaning was smoking.  Later, I heard a loud bang coming from the direction of the battlefield.

These are the rock stairs behind the sloping field looking down across the main path towards the medieval battlefield.  This picture isn't great, but you can see the water streaming down either side.  Later, as you will see below, the stairs themselves became a waterfall.

The summit!

The wrath of the gods

and here it is live!

Looks like the Tower of Orthanc.  

Some other hearty souls.

Didn't stand a chance.

Here are the same stairs, but seen from above.  I went around.

Charlie oblivious to the carnage in her obsessive hunt for squirrels.


Buzby said...

Nice! Charlie seems to have his priorities in order.

WeSailFurther said...

Check out the pics on Crumbolst's cabin blog. Amazing!