Day 3 1/2: Texas brings the thunder; Alejandro kicks a pack animal in the face; cowboy hats and waffles; Santa Fe

Around 3 a.m. thunder rumbled in the distance. I sat up in the tent and woke up Alejandro.

“Thunder,” I said.

He tried to go back to sleep but I convinced him to help me put the protective fly over the tent and move it away from the tree we were under. But to secure the fly we had to put a lot of stakes in the brittle hard ground. It was impossible.

The thunderstorm was getting closer and it was starting to rain hard. At least we had some sort of protection, we thought and dove back inside the tent. We sat by the lantern light and wondered what to do.

Are tent poles the type of metal that attract lightning?
Do you count from the thunder to the flash or the flash to the thunder to figure out how far away the storm is?
Would one thunderstorm cause a flash flood and if so what should one do if they were camping at the bottom of a canyon?
Would the ever-increasing wind roll the tent and everything, including us, inside it?

Thoughts like these were interrupted when Alejandro kicked a wolf* in the face.  It had come inside the fly and the tent less than 10 inches from Alejandro. I didn’t see it up close, but I did see some sort of small pack animal running around in the shadows.

It was around that time that we made the executive decision to leave the canyon before things got worse.

We packed up our sleeping gear and tent in record time. My flip-flops got lost in the move (we found them later, inside the tent) so I was running around the scorpion infested ground with no shoes on.

It was raining hard, the thunder was echoing loudly throughout the canyon. Our neighbors had either already left or were sitting in their cars waiting out the storm. I was cursing my nice secluded campsite because we were a couple of miles from the entrance to the canyon and had three flash flood river roads to cross.

Luckily we left soon enough in the storm that we were able to get out of the canyon. We stopped in Amarillo to get breakfast at 5 or 6 in the morning. We shared The Waffle House with a few otherwise normal looking men in cowboy hats.

We then drove in a haze of wonder. Before noon we were in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We didn't really enjoy the lone star state.

*The wolf was probably a coyote since they actually live in the canyon, but don’t tell Alejandro that.

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