So as Hurricane Harvey is quickly approaching the southern Texas region, I have been reminded of several harrowing near-death water experiences that Trenton and I have shared. So I figured, what better time to tell the stories than now (after the statute of limitations has expired)!
So, many moons ago, before Trent and I were even married, some mutual friends of ours invited us to go camping with them down by the Guadalupe River. Of course, we decided to go. So I borrowed my roommate’s tent, we packed a cooler, and headed down to the river.
We had a nice afternoon floating the Guadalupe, although as we were finishing, it started to sprinkle. It continued to sprinkle on and off for a while thereafter.
It let up enough for us to cook dinner over the fire, and then it really let loose! The heavens opened up and it POURED!!! For hours and hours, we were all confined to our tents drowned out by the pounding of the rain, the peals of thunder and flashes of lightning.
We didn’t think much of it at first, after all, we’ve camped in the rain before… it gets a little messy and it proves to be a bit inconvenient, but it’s no big deal overall. But as it continued to rain throughout the night, none of us could sleep! The thunder was SO loud and the lightning was constant and we were actually scared. We were surrounded by big trees and I kept envisioning one of them getting struck by lightning and falling on us. That’d be a sad way to go:
Angie Settle (formerly): crushed by tree. RIP…
Thankfully it didn’t happen that way. It got later and later, but none of us could sleep. Around 3am we were still up listening to the storm rage around us and were debating between ourselves whether we should stay in our tent or move to the car. We quickly decided on the latter. Although it wouldn’t offer superior protection if a tree fell on us, it had to be better than a tent! We weren’t in the car for more than 10 minutes (listening to the weather) when a police car pulled up with it’s spotlight pointed at us. Over the loudspeaker, the woman officer told us in no uncertain terms, “Leave or you could die.” She said that a flash flood was going to be sweeping through the area, not to grab anything, but just to get in your cars and get to higher ground. So… we listened! We left everything where it was, and Trent and I (in our car) and Ana and Will (in hers) left.
By now it was getting closer to 5 in the morning. We were hungry again. Trent and I found a Denny’s that was open, so we stopped in for breakfast. We ate and chatted, all the while the rain still pounded away. We decided just to go back home and come back for all of our stuff later the next day. So Trent dropped me off at my house and he went to his and we called it a day.
It wasn’t until later that we heard that not an hour after we left, a 20 foot swell had come through our campground, wiping away EVERYTHING that was there. Ana and Will made it back before we did and texted us pictures of the campsite (or what was left of it). There were picnic tables stuck in the tops of trees, there were scraps of tents and all sorts of other debris everywhere and there was nothing, I mean NOTHING left of what we brought. Our tents, food, coolers, and all the equipment that we had was gone. Where our tents had once been, there was a flipped over trailer that washed up from an RV park 500 yards up river (bottom left photo). One person even lost their life. Scary stuff!!! That could have been us had we chosen not to heed advice and high tail it outta there. We are so thankful that we made it out alive! Things can always be replaced, but people can’t!
Ironically, before we stopped for breakfast, we had to fill up the car with gas. The gas station we stopped at had some Bibles there. Trent just happened to find one he really liked- the Living Water Bible… it’s the Bible he still uses to this day. And it serves as a constant reminder for us to be thankful for God’s protection and provision over our lives! It causes us to remember that our God is powerful and our God is faithful. To this day, I am so thankful that that police officer came through and warned us, otherwise we all would have been swept away! Not being from here (or from anywhere where flash floods are an issue), I had NO IDEA how dangerous they could be! Lesson learned. I now know what flash floods are and I know not to mess with them!