I study the weather reports obsessively during the summer hiking season, trying to sync my days off with the sunniest weather. If I do it right, I get the best views on the best days of summer; Chocorua last July comes to mind. Sometimes the forecast doesn’t cooperate and rain keeps me inside. Then there’s the occasional “freak” weather event, like the hail on Mt. Washington that forced us to turn around at Hermit Lake last August.
I admit I toggled between weather.com, accuweather.com, weather.gov and the Mount Washington Observatory reports all week. They’re all calling for rain Sunday, the day I’m kicking off my 48-summit summer.
So it’s going to be wet. I have to say I’m looking forward to it, as long as I can keep my slips and falls to, say, three or less. Not only do I not mind rainy day hiking, I’ve come to enjoy it. Sure, there aren’t any expansive, postcard perfect views from the summit. You can’t sun yourself or enjoy a leisurely lunch on a warm granite slab.
Rainy hikes, however, have their own charms: Fewer crowds, fewer bugs, a more comfortable temperature. I like the way a rainstorm sounds in the woods. And for “big-boned” hikers like myself, it’s a refreshing change to be soaked by the rain and not sweat.
So I’ll be headed for Tecumseh Sunday instead of Moosilauke, whose views I really hope to enjoy on a sunny day.
Of course, I don’t really have a choice. Trying to fit 48 summits into 90 days forces my hand. I’ll be hiking on plenty of “off” days. Unless there’s lightning, high wind or locusts, I’ll be out there. Sure, I’ll try and save the Carrigains and Franconia Ridges and Presidentials for the best days. But 48 mountains offer 48 experiences, and I want them all.
And rest assured, my patience has its limits — if it keeps raining all summer I’ll be whining louder than anyone else.