*Update 3 of 5*
It was my fault, really. I’m not typically one to be superstitious, but I feel like I brought this upon us.
“It’s so hot and dry here,” I complained on the phone with my brother the night we left Shelter Cove, as well as four other times that day to anyone who would listen. “’Land of the Damp,’ it’s called?* That seems inaccurate,” I continued. “I’m beginning to think we’ve been mislead about Oregon.”
That night I woke with a start to water being splashed on my face. We’d gone to sleep without the rain fly on our tent, and there was a steady sprinkle of light raindrops falling through the mesh.
“Hey,” I elbowed Edwin as I was scrambling out of the tent. “It’s raining.”
He blearily sat up, unrolling the rain fly from the tent bag at our feet while I ran around the tent in my skivvies, snapping it on. He sleepily smiled and said, “The woman getting out to fix the tent at night? I could get used to this.” The rain stopped the instant I shoved the final stake into the ground. We made a joke about taking all the fun out of it for Mother Nature when we actually woke up before getting completely drenched, vowed to put the rain fly up every night through Oregon and Washington whether or not there were clouds in the sky when we made camp, and quickly fell back asleep.
The next day was cool, much cooler than it had been since we’d entered Oregon. It made for good hiking weather and we were putting up quick miles when we sat down near a lake to grab water and sign a trail register.
“Was that a raindrop?”
“Hmmm … I felt one, too. It’s probably nothing.”
Just then, two ladies on horseback who’d passed us earlier going the other direction returned.
“Ride over already?” we asked.
They said they’d decided to cut out early, that they’d done rain rides in the past and didn’t feel like repeating one today. We smiled politely and hiked on a few minutes later.
“Bah,” I thought. “It’s not going to rain. They say it never rains in the summer in Oregon.”
Shortly after, we passed a father out with his children – they were returning from several days of backpacking and booking it back to the parking lot near the lake we’d just passed – they’d heard from the ranger that thunderstorms were expected that afternoon and hoped to finish their trip before the rain started falling.
“They don’t even look like storm clouds,” I said quietly after we were out of earshot.
Drip. Drip drip. Drip drip drip.
Down came the rain. For hours. We got a short period of timid sunshine in the afternoon, but the sky starting dumping rain intensely again just before sundown, leaving us to hurriedly set up camp before everything was thoroughly soaked. We huddled in the tent, now sharing our already too-small space with our packs to keep them dry, listened to the torrential rains coming down, and giggled. “Don’t ever mock the weather in Oregon,” I said, laughing. “Apparently she doesn’t like it.”
The next day dawned clear and sunny and the rest of the section found us traveling around the Three Sisters Wilderness. The Sisters are three mountains in Oregon that are simply stunning. The landscape opened up at this point and offered amazing views of the mountains. That was the point where I fell absolutely in love with this state. The following day is the day I was nearly talked out of it again. Kidding! But we did spend an entire day gingerly stepping our way through large fields of lava rocks. They were cool to look at, but horrid to walk though. I heard another hiker refer to them as “foot-shredding hell rocks” and there’s no more perfect way to describe it. We were ridiculously happy when the end of the day brought an end of the lava rocks along with mile marker 2000 – crazy milestone. We stopped in at Big Lake Youth Camp and though the camp wasn’t really in full operation since we were there on a weekend, we were able get our resupply done, grab a flat spot on which to pitch our tent, and rest our very sore and tired feet. As we were laying down to sleep, thankful to be done with the lava, I remarked, “At least it wasn’t raining today! I can’t imagine doing that with wet feet.”
You can see what’s coming next, can’t you?