10 Things To Do When You Are Hiking And The Sky Starts Dripping On You

Smallest brotherski and I have spent a lot of time recently contemplating the rain. You may or may not have heard of tropical storm Cindy. We had the great luck of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and feeling Cindy while on the trail- as the paramedic who brought us into town yesterday commented, when it’s not hot these past few weeks, it’s raining. HUZZAH.

…But all-encompassing moistness aside, we have taken our experiences and turned them to your advantage, dear reader. Everyone likes hiking. In most places, it rains. Here, in no particular order, is an over-long list of 10 things to do when you are hiking and it begins to rain.

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1.  Dance. Rub raindrops on your face. Everyone loves a clean face and dancing. Everyone. Everyone.

2.  Drop despondently into the nearest swiftly forming puddle and lie in it, half submerged. Whimper piteously until the rain goes away or the puddle covers your breathing orfices.

3.  Congratulate yourself on your foresight as you watch the rain sweep in from under the awning of a conveniently located shelter. Make chili from your stores and devour with melted cheese, not-yet-smashed crackers, and great appreciation. Sit in comfort, listening to the roar of nearby cascades as they swell with runoff. Congratulate yourself some more, you lucky, lucky dog.

4.  Allow the rain to mingle with your tears as you slog on in your soggy footwear and over-warm raincoat, hoping that whatever you used to waterproof your pack has integrity enough to survive the deluge. Know that it doesn’t, and that that even if no rain falls tomorrow, the moistness of your clothing will linger for days in this humidity. Alas.

5.  Accept that you will be wet. Move on with your life (and your hike). The wheel turns. Someday soon you will be dry. This is also a circumstance you will accept with equanimity. Each experience adds value to the situation as a whole, and overall, you are greatly content.

6.  AWW YISS. Now is your chance to have your gear (at last!) prove its worth! Don rain gear. Stride forth in triumph. Realize small drips are getting in. No matter! TRIUMPH OVER THE RAIN. TRIUMPH. Small drips are as nothing to you! Huzzah.

7.  Inwardly cringe as the dripping flora whip across your pant legs, pouring their watery load down your ankles. Feel your now-damp socks soak into the lining of your exquisite hiking boots. Eventually realize that here, my dear, your carefully fitted waterproof investments have become nothing more than glorified leather water-buckets. Swish your toes in that.

8.  Gather your accoutrements. It has been raining for days! You care not. Besides, you are about to resupply. Ice cream. Continue onwards until you reach the trailhead and meet a man who knows a great many things and maintains a good portion of the Pinhoti Trail singlehandedly *coughJohnCalhouncough*. Learn about tropical storm Cindy, which is about to hit your area. Decide you are not in that much of a hurry, there’s a meeting of the Alabama Hiking Trail Society (AHTS) you’d like to attend, and sometimes it’s better to be warm and dry and meeting good people than it is to be outside hiking while a tropical depression drips through. Take a break.

9.  Charge onwards with great aplomb! Cover the next few miles in record time, choosing 2, 4, 5, 6, or 7 as your modus operandi. Get onto a road ten miles from historic Talladega, and get into the car of the first guy who stops, rolls down his window, and shouts your name in an inquiring tone through the pouring rain. Only remain in the car if a) he is not sketch, or b) his name is Jeff, he has a pipe sticking from between his teeth, he is the president of AHTS, and he owns a house from the 1800s with a wrap-around porch whose second floor doubles as a donations-only hostel for hikers like you.

10.  Know that your backpack is lined with a trash bag, and there’s nothing getting in or out. Sometimes, you don’t need much more than that.

*        *       *

We realize that this is not an exhaustive list, and you, too, may have a favorite method of coping with the rain. Please, share your wisdom with us in the comments below.


  1. Grampa Jay says:

    I like number five. That works all the time, every time, for everything.
    I am quietly following all you say. Love the pictures.
    Grampa Jay


    1. Sail Away says:

      Haha, thanks, Grandpa Jay. I think that one tends to work the best too :p


  2. Marvin goings says:

    good girl!


  3. Garrett Gundlach, SJ says:

    Hahhaha. I definitely sympathize with “over-warm raincoat”… I like to hide under trees, hugging their trunks while I am protected from the heaviest of the rains. PS. You did not mention your fancy umbrella, which I recall you packing?


    1. Sail Away says:

      Hahaha. Yes. I hold it over John while he puts on his raincoat, if it’s really pouring. Otherwise we just traipse about without anything in lighter rain, and get hit by the large rain droplets from the trees.


  4. Don Hudson says:

    When you walk through these conditions you gain experience and skills that will come back to serve you for decades. On a 5-week canoe trip to central Quebec in 1975, it rained for 28 days, stopped for 1, rained for 2 more, and ended in sunshine. We all remember the sunshine! Something very like your #10 was our salvation, and each of the 12 of us used some combination of #1 through #9 to survive. Keep on keepin’ on!! Your trip is an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MOM says:

    Bless all the good people who take good care of the hikers and God almighty Who place them in your path when you best need them. Huzzzah!


  6. Amber says:

    Annne! Lovely post. Rain hiking. The best. What I would do on rainy hiking days, if it was warm and rainy (and even sometimes when it was cold and rainy), is to wear as little clothing as possible. Thus, the majority of your clothes stay dry, inside the trash bag in your pack! Short shorts and a sports bra is acceptable hiking attire. If it is cold, also put on a rain coat. It won’t keep the rain out, but it will keep body heat in! To keep shins and socks dry from all that wet plant matter, wear gaitors over yet boots/shoes. Now you be stylin. Have fun out there!


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