Rain, Rain Go Away
Is there anything that can change the quality of your hike more than the weather? Read and prepare.
Hiking for a few days in sloshing persistent rain, can embitter a trekker against the very environment he came to enjoy. The native solution was to run naked under a poncho-like cape and wide-brim hat woven from cedar bark. For a few hundred years this unique fashion statement worked fine but then someone invented gortex. Alas, after a few hours submerged in a west coast downpour, even the mighty gortex succumbs. Chilly trickles enter around the hood and some mysterious, relentless force sucks droplets up the arms. In the end wet, is wet, is wet. The solution is as it was those hundreds of years ago: find ways to stay warm like a scuba diver in a wet suit. Shorten your hiking time to allow more time for the rain to stop and less time to hate it. Throw on extra clothes when you stop, but don’t stop long enough to cool down. Get your shelter up quickly when you arrive and change immediately. Stoke up the fire.
Hypothermia is a frightening thing.
Five of us arrived at Camper Creek after hiking all day in wind and heavy rain. We chose a place under the trees behind big protective logs. Our bodies cooled during the few minutes it took to put up our tents and scramble about looking for material to build a fire. As the others held a tarp over me, I tried to dry my freezing hands enough to ignite our fire starter. Everything dripped. I began to shiver those involuntary shivers I hadn’t experienced since my childhood days swimming at some forgotten lake. Our fire was soon burning and our clothes changed, but I’ve never forgotten those frightening, vulnerable moments.