Tales from the Cabin
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That's Cabin Weather For You!

A run takes many surprising turns

By Christy Heitger-Ewing
Published: June 1, 2006
webChristyDad
Runners both: The author and her dad many years ago.
Photo by Christy Heitger-Ewing
Cabin weather is fickle, challenging and sometimes frustrating. But since it is cabin weather, it’s somehow okay.
   
Although I’ve been frustrated many times by this phenomenon at our northern Michigan cabin, I must admit that one of my all-time favorite memories involves crazy, erratic weather.
   
I was 17 years old and like many teenage girls didn’t hang out with my dad very much. The one thing we did share was our passion for running.
   
I woke up on a cool, cloudy Saturday morning in July and stepped outside to sniff the brisk northern air. It was the perfect day for a long, slow, 13-mile run. My mom and brother were still asleep, but Dad was up, so I asked him if he wanted to join me. He was game, so we laced up our shoes and headed out.
   
The first two miles were pleasantly cool, but soon the sun burned through the clouds and began beating down on us. By mile four, we were getting mighty thirsty.
   
Another mile passed, and another. Salty sweat poured off of us as we panted along. I proclaimed that I was thirsty enough to drink from a mud puddle should one present itself along our deserted, backwoods route. Dad pointed to the rain clouds forming overhead and noted that such desperate measures probably wouldn’t be necessary. A moment later, we felt a sprinkle. Then a steady rain began to fall. I’d never been so happy about an abrupt weather change. My hot shoulders tingled with relief from the soft touch of refreshing raindrops. I tilted my head back, letting the water drip into my dry mouth.
   
As we continued down the long, gravel road, we noticed the skies turning darker and more ominous. We couldn’t seek shelter because there were no houses around. Turning back wouldn’t help since we had come exactly halfway on our 13-mile journey. Dad and I glanced at the sky, then exchanged looks of trepidation; we knew we were about to get wet – really wet.
  
 An instant later, the skies opened up. Instinctively, we picked up the pace, but it was soon clear we weren’t going to outrun this storm. For the next mile, hard raindrops pelted our eyes, cheeks and foreheads.
   
“I must admit,” I groaned as water rolled off my sopping wet tank top. “I’m not thirsty anymore.”
   
With every step, we felt the squish-squish of our saturated Nikes pounding the gravel trail that had quickly turned into one gigantic wading pool. Still, even in the presence of nagging pain and blinding rain, Dad found a silver lining.
   
“Hey, at least it can’t rain any harder!” he said with a chuckle. Then, as if Dad had just challenged God, the skies dumped even more liquid down on us. Given the situation, some people may have cried. Many certainly would have cursed. Dad and I – well, we burst into laughter. Okay, so maybe we were slaphappy from fatigue and dehydration, but at that point there really wasn’t anything else we could do but laugh ... and talk.
   
And that’s exactly what we did. Dad shared some of his old track and field tales as I listened intently, eager to learn more about my father’s youth. He also offered me some sage advice for the following month when I’d attend cross-country camp: pack a raincoat.
   
About a mile from home, the rain stopped and the sun started peeking through the clouds. As if we were headed to Oz, we noticed that the closer we got to the cabin, the more the sky brightened. By the time we reached our driveway, sunshine abounded. When Mom saw us, looking like a couple of drowned rats, she was aghast.
   
“My gosh!” she gasped. “You’re drenched in sweat!”
  
 “This isn’t sweat!” I said in disbelief. “It’s rain. We got poured on!”
   
Mom furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. “We didn’t get one drop here,” she said.
   
Dad and I just looked at each other, still giddy from our run, and chuckled.
   
“That’s cabin weather for ya!” we said in unison.

Freelancer Christy Heitger-Casbon and her dad run together whenever they can.

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