Electric Point

Sky over the Pend Oreille. Image by S. Bird

Storm King is named for a local mountain, one of the tallest in the neighborhood. There is an old logging road passing over Storm King’s shoulder at a place called Electric Point.  Containing rare earths, the mountain attracts clouds to itself, producing intense electric storms on summer afternoons. I was once caught there, crossing over on my horse on a trip to the Pend Oreille country, and learned first-hand how Electric Point earned its name. After getting too late a start, packing too heavy a load to make good time, and clouds building through the latter part of the day, and having planned to be up and over the mountain before dark, I ended up arriving above timberline, at Electric Point, in pitch dark and rain like somebody was hosing the place down. Constant thunder, in the heart of thunder – strange ball lightning popping like giant blue flashbulbs around me and the horse, below us, out over the void. Couldn’t go any further, the side of the mountain dropping off dangerously steep on the downhill side of the trail. I hobbled the horse in the center of the trail, pulled the saddle, panniers and gear off and stowed them beneath a stunted white fir offering the only thing that resembled shelter. Nothing to do but roll out the soaked sleeping bag on the side hill and get in, boots and all. Prayed for the best. Laid there a long time entertaining some dark and humbling thoughts, water running through the sleeping bag like a creek and the lightning strobing the rocks and lighting the forest below, malevolently. One of the best nights of my life, turns out.


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