The weatherman was pretty spot on today.  It started raining just before 6 am and hasn’t stopped yet.  It’s not terribly cold, so it’s not miserable yet, but the rain is supposed to continue through tomorrow afternoon and I doubt the sun will come out to help dry things out.

I woke up just before it started raining, but since the store doesn’t open until 8 am there was no point in getting up before 7 am.  Having the tarp separate from the hammock worked out well.  I was able to get everything packed up under the protection of the tarp, get the rain gear on, then put the tarp up last.  It took longer than normal, though.  About an hour instead of 45 minutes.

I got to the store just after 8:30 and several hikers were already there.  I got the phone charging first, then got my resupply package and breakfast.  They had a pretty good croissant sandwich but the espresso machine was broken so I had to settle for regular coffee which was pretty good anyway.  

One hiker had gotten too much in her resupply box and was sick of tuna so I think I scored eight tuna packs from her.  I needed to buy two days worth of food so her tuna took care of two lunches.  I had sent myself enough dinners and snacks.  All I ended up needing to buy was one breakfast so I bought a cherry pastry.

A few of the hikers headed out in the rain about 10 am.  I was ready to go but my phone needed another hour to fully charge.  I kept snacking while waiting for the phone to charge.  Most of the hikers were taking a zero in Packwood since it was supposed to rain all day, but I wanted to make some miles today and test out the rain gear while the temperatures were not too cold yet.  It was basically like an average rainy day on the Appalachian Trail.  I’ve hiked in days like this dozens of times before.

I did not get out of the store until 11:30 and the hikers trying to hitch to Packwood were still out in the rain with no luck getting a ride.  There were plenty of cars, but no one wants to stop for a pack of wet smelly hikers.  I made my way down the road back to the trailhead and headed up the trail.

The trail had plenty of puddles to dodge and lots of riverlets flowing downhill.  It took all of thirty seconds for my socks to get soaked.  I thought these shoes had goretex in them, but they wet out so fast that I doubt there is any water protection at all.  No worries, most shoes wet out pretty quickly so I’m used to it.  One thing I was impressed with was their traction on slippery mud slopes, rocks, and roots.  I did slide a few times, but far less than with previous shoes.  I’m digging these Salomon’s.

There were a few times when the rain eased up a little bit, but it has rained pretty solidly literally all day since 6 am.  I found a thick tree that provided some protection from the rain at about 1:45 to take a break and eat a tuna packet.  I found another protected area at a campsite at about 5:00 and ate another two packets.  Other than those two stops, I was on the move the whole time without stops.  Rain tends to make you not want to stop and rest or eat.

I wanted to camp low for warmer temperatures overnight, but the last low camp was at about 5:30 so I began the long climb to Rainier National Park.  There were two camping spots up high before hitting the park that I could hit before dark.  But after climbing only about five hundred feet I noticed the clouds were getting thicker.  Great, I don’t want to be basted in cloud dew all night long.  

I kept my eyes open and saw a clearing not far away that looked to have good trees for the hammock.  I went down to the area and found a good pair of trees but one was really big.  I managed to get the tarp up, get everything underneath, then get the hammock up but still wrapped in its snake skin cover to keep it up against the tarp while I cooked dinner.  I ate quickly, then unfurled the hammock and started setting everything up inside the hammock.

Apparently the sleeping pad and bag ended up getting wet despite the pack cover.  The pad was only wet on the bottom side and the bag was only a little wet in the foot box area.  I had to hang my clothes differently than usual since they are soaking wet and I will have to put them back on in the morning and it is supposed to be just above freezing tonight.  I had to leave the rain gear hanging outside the hammock.  Tommorow morning is going to be fun.

I finally got in the hammock, I’m pretty dry, and I’m warm.  The rain is still pelting away but I should be able to sleep well.  I doubt I will rise as early as usual because of the rain and cold, but I need to get going fairly early so I can make at least 25 miles tommorow.  I only packed four days of food and it’s 98 miles from White pass to Snoqualamie.  I was able to do almost 15 today which is what I was expecting, so three 25’s will leave eight miles into town on just breakfast food.  

Maybe I can show up into a town with nothing but fumes in the food bag for a change.  I have been showing up with one or two days of food left which is too much extra weight I don’t need to carry.  Let’s put a little algebra to good use for once.