budget-travels-tips.com - backpacking, hiking and camping Welcome to budget-travels-tips.com
create account   login  
     home : articles : reflect
    articles  beginners  gear  links  pictures            

Remembering the Rain

by Matt Johnston

Read More Reflections Articles

Half Dome--Inspiration beyond Chinese by Rachel Bradsell
The Appalachian Trail: A Spiritual Path by Bruce Andrew Peters
Walking with Fall by Scott Kimball
Appalachian Lullaby by Joe Plymel
A Personal Challenge by Christina Hall
Out of the City and Into the Mountains (A Jersey Girl's Tale of Backpacking) by Lisa Meagher
Ditch the rent, buy a tent by Ben Taylor
Grizzlies, Scorpions, and Snakes...oh my! by Becky Lomax
Redeeming the Crowds on Whitney by John Welch
Beautiful Cage: Buckskin Gulch to Paria Canyon by Jill Homer
Why We Go by Rob Coleman
Going it alone. by Bob Edwards
Some Night by Clyde San Juan
Fiery Gizzard by TownDawg
In the Beginning by Michael Palm
There Will Always Be Camping by Michael Souther
Timelessness of Backpacking by Matt Johnston
The Birth of a Backpacker by Paul Dockery
My Choice is Simple by Zaring Robertson
The Moose by Logan Wilcoxson
The Sport of Backpacking by Matt Johnston
A Lifetime to Explore by Matt Johnston
Remembering the Rain by Matt Johnston
Why do we backpack? by Tim Lozer
Hiking: Better Than Disneyland by Mark Mozer

Thwat, thwat, thwat, the unique sound of raindrops falling on a nylon tent first shocks you, then slowly lulls you to sleep. The first drops bring a since of panic and you begin to make a mental list of all the places that you should have readied for the rain. Is the tent pulled tight? Did I tuck in my ground cloth? Is all the gear stored under the tarp correctly? Are the tent seams leaking? After a few minutes of inner assurance your mind begins to slow down and enjoy the natural rhythm.

There is something about rain that gives a camping trip character. Whether it makes the hiking less enjoyable or it creates mental massage, rain tends to make memories that are not soon forgotten.

My most memorable thunderstorm came when I was on a canoeing trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. Our group was camped on an island in the middle of a large bay. As dusk closed in, we could see faint lightening on the far side of the bay. It was like someone was setting off mini explosions; quick flashes of light silently pulsed for less than a second. I wanted to stay up and watch the natural fireworks, but fatigue was setting in. Getting into my sleeping bag I didnt think much more about the impending thunderstorm and soon I was asleep. CCCRRRAAACCCKKK!!! I awoke as the ceiling of my tent was being lit up every few seconds. The rain was coming down hard and with every lightening bolt I could see the silhouette of trees swaying in the wind. One thunder clap was the combination of cracking and deep booming, the kind when you can practically hear the lightening form. I have no proof, but this bolt must have struck the island somewhere. Slowly the noise became softer and softer until the insects outside the tent became the lead instrument.

Even heavy rain without thunder can be just as beautiful. Sitting in a tent one night trying to coax my mind into a state of slumber, I heard a faint rustle in the distance. Since I wasnt motivated about sleeping, I focused my attention on the unidentified noise. The rustle was just like a hiker going uphill, slow, but committed. After visualizing all the different objects could make this sound, it struck me that it was rain hitting the leaves of the forest. This comforting thought let me relax and enjoy the sounds. The rain formed a crescendo that soon entered my campsite and produced the familiar thwat, thwat, thwat on my tent roof.

Just as you can rely on the rain to stop, you sometimes can also rely on it to start. While I was hiking in the Beartooth Range of southern Montana, I had my second major run in with Earl the weather god. Earl is a fat, sweaty old man who watches tv in a beach chair, has yellow pit stains and, for some unknown reason, is in charge of the weather. If he had a bad night at the bowling or his favorite team loses, he takes it out on you by sending bad weather. Sometimes he even likes to just be mean and pester you with foul weather for days on end. My trip in the Beartooths was not scarred by bad weather; I think that everyday was sunny. We would hike all day, but as soon as we decided on a campsite, a small rain cloud would loom over us for about an hour. This happened everyday for two and a half weeks. After about a week we got use to this schedule and adapted. Once we found a campsite, we put the packs down, put up a tarp and played cards for the hour to let the rain pass.

Rain is not hazardous, in fact it is just water, a necessity for life. But when raindrops hit your jacket hood and sound like a drum, you are transported to a whole other world. Whether you are sitting in a tent wondering if the next lightening strike is going to fall the tree outside your tent or you are using the rain to wash off dirt and sweat, the combination of rain and wilderness creates lifelong memories.

About the Author

Matt Johnston (matt@budget-travels-tips.com) is the creator of budget-travels-tips.com.


Tips & How-to's
Trip Reports

Newest Articles
Submit Your Article


Search budget-travels-tips.com for:

Ready to Buy Gear?

Sponsored Links

Great Outdoor Sites