Ahh, there’s nothing like hiking in a steady, driving, cold rain. We decided not to attempt Mt. Washington because of the forecast calling for snow, freezing rain, and sub-freezing temps. So, Mike, Dina, Ouzo, and I hiked 11 soggy miles on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway. Many times we were hiking through streams and ponds in what is normally firm, dry trail. This was beyond the mud stage–we’ve had so much rain that water is pooling up along stretches of saturated soil.
When we started off at Pitcher Mountain, it was raining steadily so we threw our ponchos on over our packs and headed off. At the top of Pitcher Mountain (and all the other exposed sections of the hike) the wind was kicking up, whipping rain into our faces and making our ponchos flap wildly. Since it was a chilly 47F, we doffed our ponchos and put on our waterproof shells in an futile attempt to stay drier and warmer. As long as we kept moving at a pretty good pace, we could stay reasonably warm despite the frigid rain.
The other challenge was the slippery footing. All the rocks and roots were so slick that it was like they were coated with ice. We each had a turn at some pretty spectacular tumbles. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt beyond bruised butts and egos. One nice thing about all the rain though: no bugs! Usually, this time of year along that stretch of trail you’d have to have a thick coat of DEET on every square millimeter of exposed flesh to keep the frenzied mosquitoes from extracting quarts of your blood. Even the blood suckers had enough sense to stay outta this kind of rain. But we didn’t. Who’s really higher up on the evolutionary scale?
When we reached the Washington shelter, we set our packs inside and headed for the Washington General Store for their famous cheeseburger subs. Back at the shelter, where it was still raining steadily, we reached a spontaneous consensus to reconvene the camping portion of our trip back at my house in our popup camper. Mike and Dina headed off this morning for Bretton Woods, NH, for Dina’s IFA meeting. We may get another shot at Mt. Washington on Monday if the weather clears up.