Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fun in the Rain--NOT

Yesterday, we took a zero day.  In trail talk that means a day with no hiking miles.  Typically, a zero day is used by long distance hikers to do laundry, restock food supplies, call home, that sort of thing.  Since I spent yesterday doing just that, I decided it must have been a zero day for me, too.

Today, we were back on the trail.  There was rain in the forecast, but you know how that is.  More often than not the forecasts are wrong.  Since we didn’t hike yesterday and will not get to hike tomorrow, we didn’t want to end up with no hiking three days in a row.  So, rain or no rain, we were going.

We chose Middle Prong trail.  It’s a nice gentle climb (1000 feet over 4 miles) along an old railroad bed.  It was cloudy when we left home, the first rain drops started to fall when we were about a mile from the trailhead, then the wind came up, rain increased and the first flash of lightning and clap of thunder happened just as we got out of the truck.  It rained, sometimes hard, every step of the eight miles we hiked.  We were pretty wet when we got back to the truck.

We had on rain gear, of course, but rain gear in a hike is not like dashing a few feet from the car into the mall wearing a raincoat.  I had on rain pants with gators underneath to keep the top of my boots dry.  I also had on a poncho to protect my pack.  I sweat hiking uphill, even on a cool day.  Condensation forms under the poncho and I get wet.  Even though I have gore-tex lined boots, one has a hole in the gore-tex.  They get saturated after a point, anyway, and begin to let water seep in.

When we got back to the car, my shorts were the only thing dry.  My upper body was soaked from condensation, so were my legs above the gators.  The gators had kept the top of my boots and the tops of my socks dry, but there was enough water in my boots to wring out my socks.

I had had just about all the fun I could manage to have in the rain.

We’ll have to put this trail back on the list to do on a sunny day.  The hike follows the Middle Prong of the Little River for almost the entire four miles.  There are several cascades along the way that are just beautiful.  The wildflowers were also great.  We saw a large patch of white trillium in bloom and several displays of Dutchman’s breeches.  We’ll go again on a day when I can take the camera out of the dry bag.

That’s it for today.

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