News: SMC officially breaks weather curse cast in 2012

News: SMC officially breaks weather curse cast in 2012

Siskiyou hikers break weather curse on Black Friday

29 November 2014 | Ashland, OR — On Black Friday, November 28, the SMC officially broke a weather curse that was cast on it in 2012.

The curse started in June of that year when SMC executive director Gabe Howe cancelled a trip out of Vulcan Lake.

“We stood around in the rain for hours trying to start a fire,” says Aaron Babcock, whose first SMC trip was scheduled then. The crew sustained multiple inches of rain at the Vulcan Peak Trailhead before cancelling the five-day trip.

“Then the storm diminished, and we went back later in the week,” says Howe. “It was the wrong call but we were working on the ridges and I was worried.”

In May 2013 Howe made another bad call. He moved the Memorial Day Kalmiopsis trip from a backpack to a car camp because of extreme weather watch warnings from the National Weather Service.

“Again, it was perfect weather. It was another bad bet on the weather,” says Howe. “I did it again this year, in February. We were supposed to camp out in the Red Buttes, I cancelled the trip because of weather, and then the storm never really picked up.”

Howe says he quit cancelling trips later in 2014 after being frustrated by the outcomes. In May weather was expected to be rainy and windy for a day trip. Howe didn’t cancel.

In June he refused to change dates of a rainy hitch in the Kalmiopsis, and the weather was better than expected. Then in late September as the seasons turned, Howe made his first backpack across the Trans-Kalmiopsis Route despite a ominous weather forecast.

“It called for a little to a lot of rain. But we didn’t get one drop. Highs were in the 70s. It was perfect.”

Then last Friday the weather service was calling for heavy rain and wind. As a group convened at Granite Street Swimming Reservoir in Ashland, the sky started to open up and turn blue for their adventure into the upper reaches of Ashland’s watershed. The group shed layers as they walked in and out of sun-rays.

“We broke the curse. It was sunny almost the entire time,” says Howe.

This official news comes as Howe is trying to put together a calendar for next year. He says he knows what broke the curse. A trip last March in the Kalmiopsis called for heavy rains. “But I didn’t care,” says Howe.

One volunteer forget her tent, so Howe lent her his and used a tarp instead. “By 3am the sleet was blowing sideways into my shelter. By 4am I was soaked. By 6am I was huddled up with my back against a tree. I tucked the tarp behind my shoulders and was holding it over me.”

SMC hasn’t cancelled a trip for weather since then, and the sun has been smiling warmly on our hikers and volunteers.