Santa Ana Winds in the Desert!
The Santa Ana wind storm was quite an experience. It was one that I loved that I had, but I don’t want to have it again!
Basically that night setting up camp, it was a quiet, still night. No problems of any kind as I prepared my camp. I woke up in the middle of the night and it was really cold. The wind was just howling. It was blowing so hard that it pulled my tent stakes right out of the ground. The tent was sort of lying on me, but it was also blowing to my right, so my tent was like a big sail, and it felt like it was literally about to blow me over it was blowing so hard.
I just peeked my head out of my sleeping bag because all I could hear was a PSHHHH noise. It sounded like someone was grabbing buckets of water and just throwing it against the side of my tent. I peeked my head out of the tent because all I had was my netting on to cover the tent, and everywhere sand was just blowing against the side of my tent, blowing in my tent. I got sand in my eyes, sand in my mouth.
The floor of my tent was already covered with a layer of sand. It was a sand storm. There was nothing I could do. I wasn’t about to get out there and throw a tarp over my tent or anything. I never could have held on to it. I just went down in my sleeping bag and pulled the drawstring tight at the top and hid in my bag to wait the night out. I knew it was going to be quite a night. It was just a crazy experience. If I had to guess, I would probably say it felt like 50 mph winds. It felt really strong. Hearing the sound of the sand nailing my tent was something.
The next morning I woke up. Everything had blown everywhere. All my stuff that was in my cart wasn’t there. I had to go looking for it. It was stuck in bushes and had blown everywhere. The bag that I keep my tent in had blown away. It had actually rolled across the desert, along with a part of a gallon of water I had. A few inches of sand filled the bottom of my tent and everything else I had. It was quite an experience. I packed up camp as best I could. My tent was like a big kite in the wind and nearly impossible to fold up. With the wind still howling, I started walking.
The wind would blow me for about three steps in one direction and I would lean as hard as I could in the opposite direction to try and get back on track and then suddenly the wind would slow and I would be staggering. It was like that all day. It made me sad, but I had to ditch my first cart that I bought for $10 because I could not control it against the wind gusts.
Overall, it was a long day and a long wind storm–one that I’m glad I made it through, but definitely not one that I want again! While I didn’t take the picture above, it is a picture of a sand storm in California and gives you an idea of what they’re like!
In my next blog post, I’m going to tell you about Bill, a cool Iraq War veteran I met while walking in the desert.
Step It Up!