Loc: Lynchburg, VA
I like your lessons learned, especially 3, 5 & 6. Light all day rain does stink, I find it challenging to stay motivated in those conditions. Rain in the winter really stinks. I remember more that once being cold and wet whilst cursing mother nature as it keeps on raining. And as you said the best thing is that it will stop raining eventually, and most likely the woods will be devoid of the "less weathered" hikers.
Having lived in the NW all my life [and the UW is my alma mater], I can attest to the fact that it can--and does--sometimes rain for months without stopping. I said 'weeks' in my post because I was afraid it would strain credulity to say 'months'. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> You really have to see it to believe it.
Man, thanks for the tips. You both live in spectacular parts of the planet, but it wouldn't be that incredible if it didn't rain alot.
Mattress, are you the one who had something in a blog about a hands-free umbrella you did a Vancouver Island hike with? I tried looking all over for it but couldn't find it. Forgive me if it wasn't you.
Keep up the posts & advice, cause I'm wanting to do some hiking up there (Vancouver Island west coast trails & Alaska) but dealing with rain -- lots of it -- has always got me second-guessing. We did a week in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island a few years ago (in August) and had clear skies for the whole time. But those coast trails and further north have me concerned if I'm really prepared for them.
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
I was at UW for 5 years and months is not an exaggeration. One winter the sun came out for a day and it made the paper. However Seattle rain has two redeeming features:
1. It doesn't rain very hard. It just sort of mists. An umbrella almost seems like overkill. (I think it may rain hard on the Olympic peninsula however, I never got out that far.) I don't think I ever saw a rain storm in Seattle.
2. The rain stops entirely in Summer. And it's not hot or humid either. I swear that Seattle summers make you think you died and went to heaven.
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
best thing is that it will stop raining eventually
This can be assumed in most places, but not in the Pacific Northwest, where it can literally rain for weeks nonstop. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
...and hence why the PNW has never been at the top of my list of places I want to live. I don't like cold, long periods of rain, or long periods of snow. Hmmm...that kinda rules out just about anywhere here in the US...seems like maybe I need to move to SoCal. Oh yeah, I forgot that I also don't like big freakin urban sprawls.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Normally in the PNW we have a 3-4 month dry season, which coincides with the mountain hiking season--July 5 through at least the first part of October. It's just November through February that it rains all or most of the time with only an occasional "sunbreak." The breaks generally get longer and longer as spring progresses. By June it generally rains only on weekends, which is great for us retirees....
Edited by OregonMouse (05/14/0812:56 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
When people speak of the PNW they are refering to the coast area. Here in Central oregon it is high desert, dry. Maybe a foot of precipitation a year and mostly as snow. You never worry about things being dry here. It can be raining and drying out at the same time. Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
Loc: jersey city NJ
Of course, people on the North West coast know rain. But they rarely or perhaps never see the kind of thunderstorms (rate of precipitation) that happen regularly at times in much of the country influenced by Gulf of Mexico. This includes most of US. population --- much of Midwest and Eastern Seaboard as well as Gulf Coast. It's not news for anybody but a few Northwesterners.
I got my gear soaked a few times, bought a rain cover for pack, lost the thing.... that was years ago....I run the risk...
No question about it, thunderstorms found in the rest of the country produce tremendous rainfall that can lead to dangerous flash flooding. Both types of rain have their special hazards. In the NW hypothermia is a real risk any time of year because, once wet, clothing and gear will probably never get dry and because the temperatures are relatively cool.
My original point about rain in the NW is that, unlike in other places, one cannot assume it will stop any time soon.
I live on the Pend Oreille River in the Selkirk Range in northeast WA, which is a part of the northern Rockies, and our weather reflects that. But I lived most of my life--and had most of my hiking experience--on the wet, west side of WA. I much prefer the drier side.
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
Yeah, I agree. I haven't been to the NW yet (gonna get there sometime in the next couple of years hopefully) so I can't make specific comments on what type of rain they get there. All I can comment on is what I know. And what I know is that usually when it rains here whether it be a T-storm or not, it is typically moderate to heavy rainfall. It just doesn't drizzle or mist that often. The good thing around here is that it typically does stop. It may not be for long, but usually if it rains for several days there are going to be some breaks where it actually lets up for a while mixed in there.
It wasn't me, but the idea of a hands-free umbrella has crossed my mind. The problem as I see it is most west coast trails where rain is a problem are in rain forests with dense brush (salal and low cedar branches) that would trash the brolly quite quickly.
The other common terrain out here is beach hiking, which is almost always accompanied by wind. Again, I think the umbrella would be difficult here. You might be able to rig it to use the updraft to lighten your pack though? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
To me, getting wet isn't the problem with the coastal rain. It's the mud, the slippery boardwalks, and the cold seeping through your clothes. Insulating layers don't work well in a coastal mist, it just goes straight to your bones.
I've been section hiking the Long Trail in Vermont this year and one thing it's taught me is that you need to let go of your desire to control everything on a backpacking trip. In fact it's therapeutic. So, even when it's raining dogs and cats, I get up in the morning, put on my rain gear and keep on hiking. As long as you manage your layers properly, it's not such a big deal. Oh, did I mention that it rains on the Long Trail almost constantly?
The rule I learned long ago in scouts was that if the weather was nice put your ground sheet under the tent to protect the floor, but if it was raining you put your ground sheet inside the tent to keep you dry.
I second just about everything said here. How I handle rain depends on what part of the country I'm in, the temp, and how long it is likely to rain.
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?
She absolutely LOVES them. They dry quick, are super comfortable and attract lots of attention. She says they are perfect in the rain. I am looking at getting a pair to hike in for the summer so i can leave "Bigfoot" prints all over the woods and really mess with people's heads <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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