We all have those days that aren’t fun in the moment but once we get home, take a shower, and let our sore feet recover, become a fun story to tell (and hear), and even a valuable lesson. We’re asking goEast readers to share their Type 2 Tales so we can all learn from them and figure out how to avoid being in the same scary situations.

Credit: Haley K.

The thunderstorm rolled towards us like a red line subway car screeching to a stop at Harvard Square—not yet in flames but it will be soon. Despite indisputable evidence, I reasoned the storm away. The weather report called for a thunderstorm at 8 p.m. and we still had 5 hours until then.

For peak-bagging purposes, Rowena and I had persuaded Allison to continue to the summit in spite of our late start. Grumble. Now we exchanged worried glances. Allison’s weary legs found renewed energy, darting ahead like a spooked horse with a lopsided backpack. Exhaustion outweighed fear and she rejoined the group. We compiled information. Metal is a conductor. Avoid standing in water. Limit your contact with the ground. Stay low. We did some (probably inaccurate) math to determine that the storm was 10 miles away. Too close. We exhausted our limited lightning knowledge and filled the time with stories resulting in fear-laced laughter. We cinched our waterproof hoods tight as the sprinkle turned into a steady rain. Guilt accompanied my fear. I brought my hiking friends together, one from Boston and one from Portland, for a 12.1 mile out and back to summit Mount Isolation. The once intriguing name now seemed sinister. My ability to speak evaporated with the sickening realization that my friends might die because of me.

We reached the edge of the woods. Miles of exposed ridgeline outstretched ahead of us. A ridge that we carelessly scampered across just hours before, where we enjoyed a premature lunch on the sunny Boott Spur peak and pondered whether the “Dry River Trail” had been a river long ago. Our curiosity was answered as we peered out from tree cover to spot a river of churning, angry brown water that had replaced the trail. The thunder subsided and we plodded onward. We broke all the rules we knew: Our feet in standing water, above treeline, carrying poles during a storm. I shouted to “go slow and keep your ankles intact” as we stumbled over boulders made invisible by the river. We made it far enough that it was better to push ahead to treeline than turn back. Naturally, that is when the hailstorm began. We were pummeled with sharp, frozen pea hail as we pushed up to the highest point. We laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. The hail then stopped, allowing us to look into the valley with awe—a slow-motion vacuum sucking up the rain into the abyss. I was acutely aware that this was a once-in-a-lifetime sight that I was determined to be smart enough to never see again, should I be lucky enough to live another day.

We descended toward the treeline as a bolt of lightning split the sky. Seconds pass before the thunder. Not many. Unseen hikers ahead of us had abandoned their metal poles. We were too stubborn and instead clutched our trekking poles to steady us in the river. We let out a shaky, collective exhale once we got below treeline. We didn’t take any photos. I strongly expressed that I would never smile again if we had a photo of smiling faces just before one was struck by lightning. I am happy to report that they have remained my hiking friends and continue to adventure with me. The situation is horrifyingly comical now. Our Mount Isolation hike has become a measuring stick memory for hiking growth. I cannot promise that we will never be caught in a precarious position again, but I can promise that we will be prepared for a storm. Haley K.