Stormy Weather at Tar River

The weather report called for clear skies. The 3D course was set and ready for archers. The turnout of shooters was excellent. I found a friend to shoot with and met a new one. It looked like the start of a great day. Midway through the 20-target range it stormed.

Start of a nice day

On the coast of North Carolina it rains a lot. Therefore, when planning outdoor activities it’s prudent to check the weather, even if the plans are a bit inland. The Weather Channel forecasted a cloudless morning turning to 30% chance of rain later on that Sunday. There’d be no need to bring foul weather gear for the Tar River 3D shoot. The bigger concern would be finding a group with which to shoot.

Ryan (sitting) and Chris on the Tar River Archery Club 3D Course

That too wasn’t a problem. Chris, a friend I’d met at the Fishing Creek shoot in June was at Tar River along with his friend Ryan. The three of us teamed up and headed into the wood before the main body of archers got ahead of us.

The course was well manicured and shots were challenging. There was a nice mix of target terrain placement: flat, downhill, uphill, even a tree climbing foam bear. A few groups were ahead of us, and those were moving slowly. We’d end up passing everyone.

At stake 6 someone asked, “Was that thunder?” Odd, the weather report predicted nothing other than a perfect morning for archery. Chris, using his cell phone, checked the weather radar and, in fact, there was a fast moving wall of seriously rough weather heading right toward us. The second rumble of thunder sent prudent archers to their trucks and cars. Our trio, relying on good luck and timing, decided to shoot through and hoped for the best.

We’d be passing this archer’s group in short order as they sat in trucks

On stake 10, Ryan, sitting on his folding range chair, philosophically stated, “There’s not a dry spot on me, we should have gone back.” Chris pointed out, “Man, we’re idiots.”

Chris with no cover from the rain

“It will past soon, it is already slacking, “ I added, forever the optimist. It continued to pour.

We played through when the rain let up a bit. Our scorecards were soggy pulp wads. We agreed to use a pen, make a blot under the score column at the correct number and we’d sort it out upon return.

A few targets had been set beyond little creeks and streams. These now flowed rather heavily meaning boots and shoes were assured to slosh. The sky remained dark making some targets, let alone the rings, difficult to see. To top it off, a fog rose up in the woods. Binoculars, while waterproof, didn’t do too much to cut through haze. Black targets, dark woods, and a misty fog formulated a sober trial of skill.

Three 10s on the hard to see bear

When our water-downed trio existed the course, we weren’t the first in, but we were the first out, we received stares and comments. “Did you stay out there?” a startled onlooker asked. “Hard core, “ piped another.

Back out of the woods

Upon making it to the registration tents we traded for new scorecards and transferred data from the disintegrated heaps with which we stared the day. Both Chris and Ryan ended up with decent scores. My result was a bit modest. In my defense, the post prior to this was a bit braggy (see “Call Mama on this shot”) which, according to the Laws of Nature, ensured a poor outcome.

Reporting for new scorecards

The weather helped make the Tar River shoot more difficult for a few shooters. Most people avoided the rain either by heading for shelter or waiting until the storm passed before starting. Chris, Ryan and I survived our stay in the woods. They admitted it hadn’t been too bad. For me, summer in the woods, even sopping wet, was better than sitting inside looking out.

Hot meals under the tent (photo by Ryan)