The definition of rain? (PCT Days 143-144)


Rain… On the AT, it rained 50 of my first 60 days on the trail, and I developed a whole new concept of the extent and variability of rain… It misted, it sprinkled, it drizzled, it rained, it poured, it flooded, and it was wetter than I could have ever imagined. Even though it hasn’t rained on me as much on the PCT as it did on the AT, I’ve still managed to see my fair share of rain… And the state of Washington has reputation to uphold… A reputation for rain!

West coast weather (and rain) has been very different than what I was used to on the East Coast… Here are my thoughts about the regional differences in rain so far:

East Coast Rain: Heavy rain that rolls in and hangs out for a while… Maybe a day or two… Maybe a week or two… And during that time you never catch a glimpse of the sun. A week or two later, after the rain stops, things might start to dry out… If you’re lucky, you’ll dry put by the time you get to Maine!

California Rain: A light mist, making a pathetic attempt at being real rain… Often when the rain finally appears it is just intermittent sprinkling, or maybe light rain/ice pellets that completely evaporate within 5 minutes. Usually the storm doesn’t last more than a few hours, and things dry out quickly afterwards (by the end of the day, if not before).


Oregon Rain: Fire, what they really mean when they forecast rain in Oregon is fire. The thunderstorms move in, dump torrential downpours on you, and you get a side of lightening and hail. The water then evaporates quickly, making you think that you’re in the clear, but the lightening leaves hundreds of wildfires and felled trees in its wake. The fires may last for months, and leave you choking on their smoke forever!

Washington rain: TBD. So far Washington rain seems to be a cross between Oregon Rain, and East Coast rain. It often comes with a side of lightening, hail, and fire, but the moisture and dampness seems to want to hang out and things take forever to dry out again after the rain stops)…


5 thoughts on “The definition of rain? (PCT Days 143-144)

  1. Your California rain sounds kinda like the mountain desert rain of northern New Mexico.
    Both there and where I lived in Santa Barbara, California have a rainy season in the fall that can do an 8 hour sustained rain or a 2-4 hour burst that floods the streets with 6 inches of runoff. I’d guess the CA mountains might have a similar fall rainy season.


  2. Out of all the camping/backpacking trips I’ve been on since 2012 on the east coast, I’ve had precipitation probably 80-90 percent of the time, from the afternoon thunderstorm that clears up in an hour or two during July, to the snows and ice of January, to walking an entire day through rain so hard this September that we gave up on keeping dry and just accepted our new existence as mops. I’m thinking of bringing a pack raft next time and just paddling the trail.


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