Rain or Shine on the Appalachian Trail

Rainy AT D.O.G.

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!

Fallen Giant, Foggy Morning

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.

Two Blue Blazes, two blazes on the same tree usually marks a sharp turn in the trail

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.

Hiker in the Fog

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.

Foggy Woods Are Beautiful

AT Self Portrait

Water Droplet Web

Foggy Rocky Ridgeline

Ridgeline Trail

By the time I reached the overlook, at the top of the ridge, the storm had cleared just enough to see down into the James River Valley.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
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12 Responses to Rain or Shine on the Appalachian Trail

  1. lockestocknbarrel says:

    These are some fantastic pics – love the fog and the moss coming back this time of year. Still too dry here in CT. http://www.lockestocknbarrel.com

  2. Alice says:

    Humming “Foggy, Foggy Dew.”

  3. The fog and mist create such magical photo settings! ~ Kat B.

  4. RoSy says:

    ESPECIALLY LOVE the one of the web!

  5. beeseeker says:

    Atmospheric, you have the knack of combining information, personal insight and travelogue-style commentary that I find irresistible. It’s autumn here too and it’s a season I love, so looking forward to leaf fall and harvest and walks or bike rides. Your photos add a lot to the piece too; a good eye and a reliable camera.

  6. Joni says:

    You don’t just “live” your life my dear, you LIVE YOUR LIFE. Good for you.
    Take care,

  7. You have 2 of the luckiest dogs in the world!! Love the shot at the end of the Inca Trail. One extra item I like to carry is a PLB, personal locator beacon. They are about $300, 4″ long and 4.6 ounces, and clip on your belt. The battery last 5 years or until you use it, and there is no yearly subscription. NOAA monitors all emergency signals and dispatches local authorities as needed. Even if you are just driving and become stranded in flood or snow or whatever, you can set the unit off and receive assistance. Myself, son and his wife never leave home without one! And add Bear Spray for out west.

  8. Love the foggy photos – so mystical and magical! Thanks for sharing your life with us. Carol

  9. Confidence in the goodness of another is good proof of one”s own goodness.

  10. alydez says:

    Such an incredibly beautiful place.

  11. Pingback: The Weight of Water « Travels with the Blonde Coyote

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