50% Chance of Rain? That's 50% Chance of No Rain Too.
Fall in the Northeast… full of sunny days, cool nights and enough of a drop in humidity to make me feel like a human being again instead of that constant puddle-of-mush-state that summer in NYC brings. We’re still officially a week away, but I’m getting amped for Autumn, (and I haven’t even mentioned the foliage yet!)
Nothing beats walking amongst the glorious shades of yellow, orange and red leaves, but Fall weather can also be fickle and it would be a shame to let a little unexpected rain ruin your rejoicing. To paraphrase one of my favorite AT thru-hikers of all time, “Delaware Dave” Kierych, a 50% chance of rain, means a 50% chance of no rain too. Heading out prepared for a change in the forecast, and backed with a positive mindset, will allow you to reap the many physical and mental benefits of a hike, even if your toes get a little wet.
To protect yourself and your stuff when the drops fall, be sure to carry a rain jacket, rain pants or rain skirt (my fave) and a pack cover (or bag liner). Many hiking backpacks come with built-in covers, otherwise, separately purchased lightweight and packable nylon covers are a worthwhile investment. Alternately, hiking umbrellas will help keep you and your gear dry, without making you feel like you’re in a sweatbox.
To protect your mood from getting down when the skies turn gray, tune your senses to the changes in the stratosphere. Look closer at the world under your feet and search for the little forest creatures that come out to soak up some moisture. Smell the deep earthiness that is awakened under each of your footsteps. Listen for the soothing sounds of raindrops falling on the leaves above you. By taking the focus off of your own soggy state, you can begin to appreciate all of the small things that are going on around you.
I like a sunny day with clear views as much as the next gal, but hiking in the mist somehow feels all the more mystical, like you are enveloped in your own little slice of Nature, some kind of secret land only you hold the key to. Not enough people knowingly put themselves into these potentially uncomfortable positions. When it’s foggy and the views are obscured, I’m able to hush away all those squirrely city thoughts and focus on the core of what’s important. By staying with what we know, (or closed inside when it’s cold), we miss out on the potential for thoughts to unfold in unexpected ways, the potential for magic to happen.
Choosing to go out in iffy conditions also makes me feel like a badass! If I can walk for a few hours in the rain and not be troubled by it, armed by my mental preparation and my thoughtful packing of rain gear, I’ll be much more prepared to weather the more serious storms that come my way when it comes to work, relationships or in the city at large.
Oh, and be sure to pack some dry socks. When the hike is over and your toes feel like raisins, nothing makes you feel more appreciative of the little things in life, than changing into a pair of warm, dry socks.