The kids and I went to visit the Sandia Peak Tram this afternoon with my brother’s family. We went up on the tram and the weather was pretty good. On the ride up, tram operator mentioned that the chairlifts were open and that you could ride down from the peak to the ski area and then back up. Since the kids were wanting to ride, we all decided to go ahead. I rode with Mia on my lap and Sean on the seat beside me (the chairlifts seat 2 people). On the ride down to the ski area, some clouds suddenly began to move into the area. We saw some lightning in the distance, and by counting the seconds between light and sound, it seemed to be about 10 miles away still. They stop operating the tram and chairlifts when the lightning is within 7 miles, so we were still okay. Lightning makes me nervous… and I started thinking, “what would be worse than being stuck on a metal chairlift up in the air, with lightning nearby?”. We reached the bottom, and the lift operator mentioned that they were trying to get people back up to the top in case the storm moves in closer. So we turned right back around and got on the next chairs back to the top. The clouds rolled in a little more, but the lightning was still about 9 miles away. We were about a third of the way back up the mountain when I heard some rain falling on the trees as we passed. It seemed like we were barely staying ahead of that rain as we moved higher and higher.
Remember the question I asked myself earlier about anything being worse than nearby lightning and being stuck on a high metal wire, sitting in a metal chair? Well, I soon found out (funny how that works, huh?)… It started raining a little. I thought, “okay, this isn’t bad… not too hard. we’re okay.” Then it started raining harder. I thought, “great… now it’s getting cold. But we’re still okay.” Then… HAIL. I couldn’t believe it. it was hailing on us, little pellets stinging our legs, arms and faces. By now, we were soaked and cold. Mia was on my lap, so she was getting the brunt of the weather. I took off my over shirt and wrapped up little Mia in it who was so cold and screaming by then. I was thankful I wore 2 layers today… this was all I could do to even try to keep my littlest one warm. The chairlift kept stopping and starting. Each time we stopped, Sean started panicking, “Why are they stopping??? Why isn’t it moving???”. We were still getting pelted by hail and rain. I told Sean to pull his arms into his shirt to stay warm. Mia was wrapped in my wet shirt, and screaming because of the hail and rain on her face. I remembered I had grabbed a couple of Activity books for the kids about Smokey the Bear. I pulled them out of my purse, opened them up, and spread one over Mia’s head and face to keep the hail from hitting her face. I had to hold it in place with my teeth so I could keep both arms wrapped around her cold little body.I handed the other booklet to Sean to cover his face with. By now, Mia was screaming, and Sean was crying. I didn’t know what to do. The chairlift stopped again, but this time for several minutes. Then I got it through my thick head that there wasn’t NOTHING I could do… I could pray. So I told Sean that we should pray for God to stop the rain and hail and keep us safe. We prayed. Then I started singing,
“When God shut Noah in the grand old ark he put a rainbow in the cloud
When thunders rolled and the sky was dark God put a rainbow in the cloud
God put a rainbow in the cloud, yes in the cloud, God put a rainbow in the cloud
When it looked like the sun wouldn’t shine anymore God put a rainbow in the cloud”
This got the kids to calm down a bit. Mia stopped her screaming intermittently and would listen to the song. I kept repeating the chorus, “…when it looked like the sun wouldn’t shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the cloud.”
We started moving again. The hail was lessening. Sean stopped crying. Then it was just rain. Thank you, Lord. I looked ahead and saw the top of the mountain, and the skies were clear up there. The rain stopped. Again, Thank you Lord. We were cold and wet, but safe and the sun never felt so good on us. We made it to the top without further stops. Mia was still crying, and cold. I was really getting concerned about her. She was getting pale.
Once we were at the top, we headed into the bathrooms inside the restaurant on the top of the mountain. They had 2 air hand dryers, and I took off Mia’s clothes and dried off her body with the warm air while my sister-in-law dried Mia’s clothes. While Jess was drying the clothes, the air dryer she used shot out a spark! Thankfully, the clothes were dry enough and so was Mia. She was looking much better, not pale anymore. Plus, a lady gave her a lollipop to help her feel better. My brother took Sean into the boy’s bathroom and dried him up as well. The other boys had jackets, thankfully, so they didn’t get too wet.
Thus was our adventure on the “high wire”. It was the most memorable trip up the tram I’ve ever had. I’m so thankful that the Lord kept us safe, and the power stayed on so the chairs didn’t get completely stuck. We got wet, and pelted with hail, and we were cold, but we were kept safe and had an “adventure” to remember.
Of course, when we got back down to Albuquerque, it was really hot, so we went out to have some Orange Julius drinks and Blizzards from DQ. I don’t think the kids even remember the miserable, wet, cold, stinging hail part of our day. Funny how that works too.