Monday, January 10, 2011

The Laziest Day on the Trail

The WTA volunteers dry out their shoes and gloves
around the smoldering fire they had trouble getting
started. =)
September 1: It rained all night. Not a nice, friendly little drizzle, but an angry downpour that never let up, and when dawn broke, it still didn't stop. Few things are more dispiriting than a cold rain, and I got to thinking about my September 21st finish date, and I thought, "I can wait it out. Yes, I don't need to hike in the rain."

I still had to average less than 25 miles per day to reach the border. Surely I can wait out the rain. One thing about the Pacific Northwest, it might rain everyday, but it never rains all day! Certainly not in early September!

So I laid around under my tarp reading the Reader's Digest for a bit, until I had to pee which finally forced me out from under my tarp. I wandered over to the WTA group site and said hi, and they offered me breakfast. What a wonderful group of people. =) They cooked up an egg and steak breakfast, with a glass of orange juice--certainly a heck of a lot better than anything in my pack!

Rocks along the trail. They kind of reminded me of
Devils Postpile with those hexagonal shapes!
Today was Wednesday, their day off from working, but none of them were particularly pleased about the weather. A couple of them were thinking about going into town to dry their clothes. The trailhead they used to get to Junction Lake wasn't too far away. If the weather didn't improve, none of them were even sure they wanted to work anymore. The rain was as dispiriting for them as it was for me.

I didn't want to overstay my welcome, though, so I wandered back to my tarp and hung out under it reading the latest gripping stories from the Reader's Digest all morning. Around noon, I got up again and chatted with the others for an hour or so, telling them I planned to hike at least ten miles that day. I'm not sure they believed me anymore, but they certainly understood my aversion to rain. "It's only rained on me four times so far on the trail," I told them. Which was true. Twice in California, once in Oregon, and now once in Washington. I wasn't really counting today, though, since I hadn't actually hiked in the rain. Not yet, at least. I managed to stay pretty dry by not hiking.

The rain had stopped, but the trail were still wet and muddy.
The rain did start to lighten a bit, and by 2:00, it was time for me to go. Rain or shine, I couldn't take a zero day. And I finally started hiking at 2:30 in the afternoon. Miraculously, the rain had finally stopped! Tree snot was still dropping from the trees, but the rain had finally stopped. Whew!

Later in the afternoon, I even saw the occasional patch of blue skies and felt the wonderful sun.

I only hiked 12 miles today, setting up camp just past Big Mosquito Lake in a small meadow. It didn't look like it would rain overnight, and the weather forecast didn't call for rain overnight, but I set my tarp up anyhow. It was still soaking wet and I hoped it would dry if I set it up overnight. And if the rain did start up again, I'd already be protected.

Glad that was behind me. Rain sucks.

Late in the afternoon, the sun even peaked out for a bit. =)

I filled up with water here before stopping for the night.

Setting up camp for the night.


Sue KuKu said...

So, Ryan, which would you prefer: hiking in the rain or all those snow days?


Ryan said...

It's a tough call. They're both extremely demoralizing! I'd rather hike in snow that doesn't accumulate to any great degree. Easy to walk in and not lose the trail, but dry enough to fluff off me and not bother with getting me wet. =)

-- Ryan

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

*Only* 12 miles? And completed after 2:30 pm?

Pretty impressive!

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekker