Monday, May 16, 2011

Hiking in the Rain & Fog

The pleasures of hiking in the rain and fog

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“He who would travel happily must travel light." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So it was raining this weekend and looks like rain all this week. I just took the dog out for a walk in the drizzle and it reminded me I wanted to write a short blog post about my hike yesterday in the rain.

When I don’t have time for a full day hike I often hike at a very nice county park near me. It’s a wonderful park with many nice trails up to views of New York City and flatter trails along a reservoir.  The only down side being it sometimes gets a bit “crowded” (meaning you can spot some other people there from time to time).

149 rainy

So yesterday I figured it was a good place to go, cause “Sunday” hikers don’t normally hike in the rain.  Thinking I would have the place to myself, I drive into the lot and find a troop of cub scouts.  They seem to be standing around debating if they should hike in rain or not and appear to be inclined against it.  They ignore me as I walk past them.

Fortunately they were the only other people in the park and I walk for a mile or two before seeing anyone else.  When I get to the top I think about turning around – the fog and clouds are making it feel kind of spooky and I’m getting a little creeped out – but I decide to go ahead and do a long loop.  Just as I walk into a normally dark part of the woods (now really spooky) I meet a young lady and her dog walking the other way.  I recognize her as someone else who often haunts these woods and we exchange a smile as we pass; this makes me forget how creepy the woods is this day.

The rain has stopped now and the woods are so quiet. There is just the stillness of the hanging fog in the air and the dripping of water from the leaves.  A peacefulness that is hard to describe. It’s like a vacuum that sucks the tension and stress out of my body. My daydreams, worries and thoughts evaporate into the mist and all that remains is that peaceful feeling.  The quietness. The solitude.

A short while passes as I near the end of my loop and I hear the ear-piercing noises of cub scouts coming toward me.  That’s OK too. It’s nice to see the kids out in the rain.  They ignore me as they walk past.

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