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The “Great Flood of 2004” started inconspicuously. We paid little attention to the clouds that had been building all day as we made our way towards Rockpile Lake in a remote corner of Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest along the Pacific Crest Trail. A grand total of two hours of rain had fallen in the last four months and to say that everyone had become complacent about bad weather and bad weather backpacking gear was a gross understatement.

I had been hiking with “Honolulu” since the Mexican Border and “Trim” off and on since northern California. The three of us set up camp on the far shore of Rockpile Lake in some lofty pines after cooking our trail dinners and enjoying a dessert of Reese’s Cups. The clouds over the lake, which had slowly been darkening all day, were now ominous and foreboding. All appearances said that it was now only a matter of an hour, or possibly minutes, until a full-bore tempest released its fury on us.


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