We were on our way back to the campground from Crater Lake, and it seemed the closer we got the stormier it got. We hit a small town just 5 miles or so from our turn-off, the rain was just beginning to fall. It was 7:30 in the evening and though we had snacked a lot we had yet to eat dinner. The plan was to heat some chile on the camp stove, but as we watched the scary black clouds overhead we knew that plan wouldn’t work.
We were dismally deciding on PB&J when at the end of town a shining beacon stood before us – Taco Bell. Paul and I looked at each other, gave an affirmative nod and pulled into the restaurant. I fed the baby while all the kids took a bathroom break and Paul ordered food. The great thing about Taco Bell is that everyone can get plenty of food for really cheap – even a family of 7 woohoo!
After everyone was back out in the car I went in for the icewater. As I brought the water out the rain really began to fall, big fat drops splatted up and down my arms. We divied out the waters and began to drive to the campground.
We turned onto the road that climbed up into the mountains toward our campground. The higher we got the harder the rain fell. Then there was a distinct pinging sound.
“Wow,” Paul said, “that’s hail.”
The pinging soon became roaring, so deafening that I could hardly hear my own words. The higher we went the harder and faster it came down. The hail started out the size of small pebbles, within a few moments it grew to the size of large marbles slamming into our winshield.
“Pray,” Paul said, his knuckles white gripping the steering wheel. I cringed as even more hail slammed into the windshield, now the size of large quarters.
It was so loud I couldn’t hear myself, and my thoughts would not pull enough together to form a coherent prayer. Finally I managed, “Heavenly Father, you know what we need, please help.”
Not even a minute after I finished my prayer a turn off into a snow park appeared. Paul felt the prompting to turn into the park and pull under the tree just to the left of the driveway. He did so immediately. As soon as he did the hail seemed to explode around us as it came down even harder and faster. We still got pummled, even under the tree, but not nearly as bad as we would have without the prompting to turn into the park. We would have broken our windshield for sure if we had kept going. As it was, we came home sporting numerous little dents all over the car.
We expected to find our tent and camp ruined, and were surprised to find everything completely intact. The storm was moving on and after speaking with the kids and praying, we felt that we would be fine staying the night. Regardless Paul packed the car as much as possible before turning in for the night in case we needed to leave in the face of another major storm.
The morning was foggy and cool, but we made it through the night, and began our journey home. We were very grateful for the protection that Heavenly Father gave us.