By Grant Ritter, Author of New England Outside
Rain typically persuades most people to cancel outdoor plans in favor of movie marathons, house cleaning or some other indoor activity; it doesn’t have to be this way. Hiking in the rain can be a lot of fun. I know you don’t believe me yet but you will find 5 reasons below that might change your mind. Before I go on I must stress what kind of rain I am talking about. Obviously if the weather is unsafe you should not venture out and all rain hiking should stay well below tree line. Also hike with a buddy or let someone know where you are going.
Reason 1: Hike the path less hiked:
Rainy days are a great reason to explore a local trail or something that you typically bypass on your way to the more epic ascents in the Whites. This way you expand your hiking knowledge and can keep the sunny days free for the epic climbs.
Reason 2: Test your rain gear:
Rain gear is expensive and it spends most of its life in the bottom of your pack. A rainy hike below tree line gives you a low risk opportunity to see what your rain gear is capable of. This is great knowledge to have when you break out the rain gear in an above tree line or backcountry situation.
Reason 3: A fresh perspective on your favorite trail:
If you are like me then you have a few favorite trails that you have hiked countless times; typically during favorable weather. Rain can give you a fresh experience on these routes with decreased visibility, the pitter patter of rain drops, and fog in the trees. It might not sound like fun but it feels like getting to know an old friend in a new way.
Reason 4: Have the trail to yourself:
Few people hike in the rain; it is a plain and simple fact. Even a light drizzle will clear the most popular trails. This means you can hike some choice locations in virtual solitude. This can be a great thing if you hike to get away from it all.
Reason 5: A wet day outside beats a dry day inside:
What is more fun, hiking outside in the rain or being inside wishing you were hiking? This is not a trick question. I always prefer to be hiking even if conditions are a little damp.
So are you convinced that hiking in the rain can be fun? Rain gives us a chance to hike new trails, get to know old ones, test gear and just have fun. Head for the trail the next time rain is forecast if you have an open mind and a desire to have fun.
I want to extend a very special thanks to Grant for writing this great guest post for LFAHNH. He's certainly given me a different perspective of hiking in the rain. Grant hikes all of over New England and also takes part in many other outdoor sports in New England. He will soon be finishing up his NH48, 4K-footers, with his last peak being Owl's Head, the peakbagger's nemesis! Please drop by Grant's blog, New England Outside or his Facebook page. Please note that the contents of this post (text and pictures) are property of Grant and are protected under my copyright. - Karl