Summer is still lingering in southern Virginia and the days have been hot and muggy. When I woke up the other morning to rain, I gladly headed out for a hike. I’ll take warm rain over heat and humidity any day!
One of my favorite things about day hiking the AT is that when it rains, I can get completely drenched. Usually on an overnight or multi-night hike, you have to protect yourself and your pack from getting wet, lest you get cold and the pack get waterlogged and heavy. But on a day hike, with a house waiting at the end of the trail, I don’t need to worry about staying dry. I can let the water soak my hair, run down my face, drench my clothes, pool in my boots, wet my day pack and then go home.
On my rainy hike, I met a couple of thru-hikers, on their way from Maine to Georgia. When you cross paths with other people on the AT, you always stop for a chat. This is one of my favorite things about the Appalachian Trail: people are friendly. Stopping to talk to total strangers isn’t strange; it’s expected. Number one topic of conversation: the weather. I’ve gotten in the habit of checking the 5-day forecast before I head out on the AT just so I can share the latest beta. Thru-hikers don’t have the luxury of hot showers and dry clothes and they always want to know what’s in store for their next few days on the trail.
These guys – halfway through a typical 30-mile day – pointed to my camera (my trusty Olympus E3 can take a rainstorm and keep on clicking) and said, “Nice camera, too bad there’s no view”. True, there probably wouldn’t be much to see from the overlook on the ridge – on clear days I can see my house down in the valley – but I don’t carry my heavy camera just for overlooks. In the rain, everything in the woods is photogenic.