Day 17: Rain

Bemis Mountain Lean To to East B Hill Road – 19 Miles

As with nearly every day, today many people warned me rain was coming. And as I always do, I ignore them and carry on with my plans. The weather is so fickle around here that I trust what I see more than what I hear.

Around 5:30 this evening, just as I was starting to think about crawling into a warm, dry tent, the sky opened up.

At first the rain fell lightly. It started with a light pitter patter on the canopy but didn’t reach the forest floor. Then it came pouring down. It drenched my clothes and made them cling to my skin. Puddles formed on the trail and I almost stepped on a frog that was swimming in one.

At camp I set up my tent and crawled in naked so my muddy clothes wouldn’t contaminate my down sleeping bag or dry long johns. I quarantined my dripping clothes to the vestibule, wrung them out, and hung them in a futile attempt to dry. Still completely nude, I cooked dinner in the vestibule while I waited for my pruney skin to dry out enough for clothes.

For the moment I am dry, warm, and comfortable inside my tent. Listening to the drops falling on the roof, I am very thankful I bought a bigger tent so I don’t have to spend the whole night fussing about keeping my gear from touching the wet walls.

In weather like this it’s hard to stay positive. I seriously considered hitching out to town at the next road and maybe ditching this place entirely. I know I can quit and go home to a warm bed any time I like, but, rain or shine, I’d much rather be here than stuck in a Seattle traffic jam.

Update: The next morning I peeled the slugs off my damp clothes and shimmied into them, trying not to let the cold fabric touch my skin. Within a mile my clothes were dry from body heat and my shoes were soaked again from stomping in puddles. I was happily on my way.

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