Day 146: Slightly Drier (Not That That’s Saying Much)

It might be taken as a sign of our attitude towards the rain that waking up this morning to “only” a great deal of water dripping off the trees all around us, rather than actual rain, seemed like a relief. We still had to get ready while being careful not to let any important gear get wet, but it was a whole lot better than yesterday.

As it turns out, the rest of the day held true to that pattern: at the same time, we managed to avoid all but a tiny bit of rain, yet we were in basically 100% humidity all day long. What does that mean? Really, it means two things: nothing of yours dries, at all, and everything you touch is soaking wet. The ground is wet. Plants are wet. Rocks are wet. Trees are wet. Any place you might want to sit — say, to take a rest during the day — is wet. And, when you do sit down and get your butt wet, it’s going to stay that way for about four hours, because things dry incredibly slowly. Furthermore, every plant you brush against is soaking wet, which means your pants and, especially, your shoes get and stay soaking wet, all day long.

Am I complaining? I suppose partly, although, honestly, my knowledge of just how bad the forest fires have been out here still makes me happy to see the rain, even if it makes for difficult hiking. I definitely wish my hiking clothes were dry, and it felt like a huge relief this evening to take off my shoes and socks and finally let my feet dry off a little bit. But I suppose this is all just part of the challenge of Washington: it’s a famously beautiful state, but the weather is also difficult for most people who come through here.

We’re also still adjusting to the terrain here. Today we started off with a 1,800-foot climb…then pretty much immediately came right back down, not stopping until we’d given up more than we’d climbed, leveling off down in a valley. Then, at the end of the day, we had a 2,800-foot climb from that valley up to our campsite, and that’s more climbing than we’ve done in a long time — quite possibly since some of the brutal climbs of Northern California. It makes hiking go slower and be more punishing than we’ve had in a while, and the miles come with all the more difficulty.

Thankfully, tomorrow looks like it’ll be a bit easier than today…and we’re only two days away from our next resupply point, at Trout Lake. With luck, I hope the intervening two days will give some of our gear a chance to dry off!

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