Interesting discussion. As a ham radio operator, lightning is a big part of my life! My grounding system here at home audibly bleeds off ground potential as thunderheads pass over. My equipment has been hit at least once. Also as a sailor and kayaker, lightning gets discussed often....get caught out on a lake and there's really nothing to do but ride it out. Hunker down all you want but you're still the tallest thing out there. I've been caught out a few times and nothing happened. To maintain weather spotter status, I have to attend a NWS school every two years. Lightening as a subject is still in it's infancy and most of the information is theoretical. We're getting pretty good at shielding buildings and electronics from hits, but predicting "where" a strike will hit is still a black art. Potential/charge can be detected but not where or when a strike will happen. "Blue Sky Lightening", where a bolt can reach out 20 miles from a thunderhead, is amazing and common. And random. The nature preserve I care for has a few blackened trees in it. For whatever reason, lightning likes trees....probably because they have some resistance to ground making an ionized path easier for an arc, but not very good bleed points. My house system, buildings with lightening protection, and the big local TV towers have a low impedance to ground allowing potential to bleed off, averting an arc. The TV towers still make a great light show during storms.
I guess a hiker could carry around his own lightweight Faraday cage to hide in. A well grounded tent? As a hammocker, I just pray and go back to sleep.
Flooding is the major killer with regard to weather.
I was just reading a poster over on some BLM property (we were fishing) that claims in the past 100 years, 15,000 people have been killed by lightning. 1300 by snakes. 10,000 were killed by deer. Black bears, 63.
I'm sure there is some rounding involved in some of those numbers.... No real info on geographical area factored into those numbers either.
I dunno. those stats smells like the rounding was "made up statistics in the author's mind" probably to try to make a valid point. but it's still silly.
I do recall that there wasn't a sign there the first several times I hiked it, but I am sure one was there the last time I did. It was probably placed there as a result of that suit.
It's crazy to think that you could sue because the Park Service didn't tell you that you could get struck by lightning in a storm, and Moro Rock is about the last place I'd be wanting to hang out in a storm, or even on a windy day for that matter.
I googled some pictures of it a few minutes ago. They've got stairs and handrails all along most of that trail now. They weren't there when I was. Had that guy won that suit I'm sure they would have barred access completely. That would be even crazier, but not as crazy as putting a warning sign everywhere you have the potential to get hurt, which, in essence, is what the suit claimed should have been done.
Loc: San Diego CA
OK I admit this is a bit OT but the mountain lion attack reports are interesting to look at. I remember the ones in Orange Co. CA vividly as many people wanted to have the cougar numbers culled again.
In Indonesia, their "cat" problems are the tiger. One spot I surfed, G-land or granjangan, is known for amazing left hand break and there has been a surf camp there since 1990 at least. When I went there in 1993, we would find big tiger prints along the beach almost every morning. The locals had learned to deal with them in part by wearing masks on the back of their heads so it looked like the person was looking backwards as they walked down a path. I think I saw this in National Geographic as well. Maybe a face on the back of a hat, or something like that, would deter some cougar attacks.
I am,for the most part, a solo backpacker. I must admit,in my youth, I have travelled with a devil may care attitude. I have set camp in the Catskills and ADK on the high grounds. I have stood outside in the middle of solitude and enjoyed the wonderful nature's laser shows. As wisdom comes with age, I see that I had put myself at risk. Do I regret it? No! but I evaluate the risk factors more now.
One of Earthling's friends was struck by lightening in his tent and killed. Earthling was camped a ways away and found his friend - well - dead - the next morning. Maybe thats why Eugene had a sort of live for now atitude... I hope he's ok... Jim
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.