1. Bone Dry vs Chilled to the Bone
Staying dry is easier than drying out after you’re wet. Bring things like a ball cap to keep rain out of your eyes and off your face, pack your gear with Ziploc bags so that if you need extra clothing it's already dry and stay away from cotton as a base layer
2. Mother Nature's Mood Swings
Keep monitoring the weather. Weather forecasting is not an exact science. If less than 30 seconds are passing between thunder and lightning while you're still home, wait until it's passed
3. Safety First
Keep an eye out for lightning. It puts on a great show which you won’t want to miss, however, it’s even more important that you know how to take cover.
4. Constantly Self-Assess
Add layers or grab a snack if you’re starting to feel a little cold. Remember that rain can zap your mental state, so check with your buddies to be sure everyone’s still having a good time.
5. Change of Plans
Ditch destination fever. If a big storm makes things miserable or hazardous, turn around and call it a day. You’ll still have tales to tell! Try to find a trail that it part of a network so you have options for making the hike shorter if needed.
THE UNEXPECTED BENEFITS
1. Trails all to yourself
Is there a waterfall you’ve been dying to see but you know it’s highly trafficked on sunnier days? Use a rainy day to go check it out! Consider bringing poles for extra control on rocks that could be extra slippery – Walkabout carries Leki trekking poles which are great for such an occasion.
2. Truly fresh air thanks to negative ions
Rain is full of lung-loving negative ions that help refresh the air. It’s scientifically proven that rain collects particles of dander, soot, sulfates and bacteria so if hikes/walks have been hard on you in the past, try a rainy day!
3. What’s that smell?
It’s officially called Petrichor – that very specific smell of rain. Rain brings the smell of nature to life! The dirt, the trees, the plants – it’s as if you’re experiencing them for the first time. More than just with your nose, your ears will be full of interesting sounds and your eyes will be seeing details more sharply.
4. I spy…
Creatures like salamanders, frogs and snails love rainy days – See how many you can find! Snail races anyone?
5. The Whole Experience: Mindfulness & Gratitude
We all like to be in control, it’s reassuring; but rain has a way of reminding us that when it comes to Mother Nature, we don’t get a say. Immersing yourself in the very environment we normally try to avoid teaches us how to be okay with uncertainty and reconnects us with a sense of appreciation for the warm/dry home we get to go back to. Letting Mother Nature remind us how to live in the moment like children, figuring it out as we go and succumbing to the powerlessness can be a liberating experience you won’t forget.