Your probably wondering: How could the nearly flat, well maintained road to View Benchmark be unnerving? Well, to explain that I'll just start at the beginning.
View from the trailhead
I made the decision to climb View Benchmark after reading the article on Utah Triangulation Stations.
It was a Wednesday, and it was close to 100 degrees. So I watched a group of clouds make their way east and timed it so I got to the trailhead about when the clouds put the mountains into the shade.
I started up the dirt road that winds its way around the Traverse Mountains. About 15 minutes in I hear a large crack of thunder almost directly over my head. I look up to see the large, black cumulonimbus clouds surrounding the area. I didn't let it bother me, so I kept hiking. Then it dawned on me that I was heading to the top of a mountain in a thunderstorm. And as if that wasn't enough, this particular mountain just
so happens to have a 15 foot metal pyramid on top. Now, I still have no idea if I was in any real danger, but all I know is that I was freaking out as I made my way up the exposed ridge to the triangulation station. I thought about waiting for a patch of blue sky, but I could not see a break in the clouds for at least 50 miles. So I just kept going, hearing thunder continuosly the whole way up.
After reaching the summit I only stayed long enough to snap a few pictures. I could hear the buzz of electricity running through the large metal pyramid, so I kept my distance. On the way down I experienced some heavy rain, but besides that it was uneventful. As I got off the ridge I began feeling more relaxed.
Like I said, I have no idea if I was in any real danger. I don't have a clue what the chances are of being struck by lightning on a mountain, but I've heard of it happening. The whole hike took me about an hour, and besides the bad weather it was a lot of fun. I highly recommend it to anyone who has limited time but still wants a rewarding summit.
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