Total Miles: 2506.2
Well, that sucked. The fact that I never even turned my phone on, let alone used it to take a single picture, tells the story of the day about as well as I can. From the moment I began hiking to the moment I stopped, the rain was unrelenting and the path that it left in its wake was one that looked more like a water slide than a hiking trail.
When I packed up my tent and all of my dry belongings, I was glad that I’d asked Emily to send out my rain pants, rain mittens, and neoprene socks to Snoqualmie Pass just for such an occasion. Rain is a devious, persistent foe, however, and despite whatever preparations you might make against it if given enough time it will almost certainly find its way in regardless. A battle with the rain is the definition of a losing battle but paradoxically it is one that it is critical to fight.
On a day of constant downpour, the goal isn’t so much to remain bone dry and toasty warm, since this is largely impossible, but rather to delay the damp chill for as long as possible. When the clock runs out and the risk of hypothermia becomes too great, it’s time to call it a day, pitch the tent and break out the warm dry sleeping bag that has presumably been safely stowed away in the cozy confines of, say, a trash compactor bag inside your pack.
And so it went today. Whether descending below tree line or climbing well above it, it was all the same story: stuck in a cloud and a perpetual rain. When we climbed back up above 6000 feet for an extended stretch several thousand feet above the forest below, the struggle was magnified further. Not only did a wind arrive to amplify the misery, but the terrain made it clear that we must be missing out on some spectacular scenery had it been nice enough weather to see anything. We very nearly walked by the 2500-mile mark without even noticing it. Under different circumstances it would have been an occasion to snap a photograph, but today it was reduced to a place where spending a moment to enjoy it would have meant arriving to the end of the day a moment later than necessary.
Two days into a five day stretch through some of the most remote wilderness in Washington, nearly everything I have is wet or very nearly so, despite my best efforts and it’s now a battle to keep my down jacket and sleeping bag as dry as humanly possible, even inside my tent where the continued rain knocks condensation droplets down onto me like a tamer version of what’s happening outside. Here’s hoping for a decent night’s sleep before the worst part of backpacking in the rain: pulling on all those wet layers and heading back out there again.