By early morning I can no longer pretend that the pitter-patter on my tarp is the sound of pine needles falling from the trees. The promised rain is here. A Pacific Northwest drizzle, not pouring down, but a steady damp descended over the landscape in a semi-permanent seeing way.Luckily I saw the unseasonably cold, wet weather coming and added my rains pants and beanie in Ashland. They are enough to get me up and going, with plans of booking it 21 miles to a cabin (with wood stove) and then reassessing the situation. After a few miles, and the thump-crashing brown blur of a bear running away (still my favorite way to see a bear, and this one was big!), the rain pants are too hot as always and so I spend most of the day in a damp skirt and clammy jacket.
Rain does lend an element of novelty to a day of mostly private property and previously logged forest. Otherwise unnoticed spiderwebs sparkle, tiny leaves gather water droplets that run down my legs as I pass. My shoes go squish-squoosh with each step. All views are pretty much the same though, thick grey mist with a foreground of tree silhouettes.I stop for a snack on a dry patch of ground in the shelter of some trees and Jessica catches up. She’s solo hiking Oregon and we met at the campground last night. Company makes the drizzly miles faster, and we find ourselves at the Brown Mountain Shelter at 4pm. No one is there, but coals still glowing in the wood stove make it comfortably warm and dry.
We set about drying our tents and socks and shoes and I contemplate moving on. While 21 miles is an OK day, this is unthinkably early for me to reach camp. Hours of daylight, feet not even in pain. Then the rain intensifies into a mini downpour and I think about how lucky I am to have such a warm dry shelter and good company today, the first rainy day of this trip.
Around 6pm, four others trickle in somewhere between damp and soaked, and we are visited by a friendly couple out on a short walk with their dog. I cook dinner and am settling in to work on blogging when I look out the window and can’t believe what I see. Mike, from the dog walking couple, has returned in full trail angel mode and is unpacking a cooler of wine, beer and soda on the picnic table outside.A beer and many thanks later, and I left contemplating how true it is that the trail provides.
July 8, 2016