Since Mt Hood the weather has been a bit wet. We had about 10 hikers between 2 rooms at the Timberline year-round ski resort on Mt Hood. I was there first and had all my stuff dry so said I'd head out and leave a bit more space for the others (3 pints of beer led to that stupidity!).
I hiked about 4 miles that night and camped very carefully. The previous time I camped I got a bit of rain in my tent. Being more careful paid off and the rain stayed on the outside of the tent. The next morning though I waited in bed a while hoping for things to dry. They did not and the weather did not relent. I made a very careful plan for packing my stuff to keep as much of it dry as possible. The tent, however, was soaked.
All day it rained. The advertised views of Mt Rainer and Mt Hood were hidden in cloud. It was a very wet day. Undergrowth encroaching the trail ensured my shorts and feet stayed wet. I used my umbrella all day! This was quite a good thing since I have carried it for more than 1,000 miles now. Whilst it kept me out of the rain, the low cloud ensured everything was soaked.
My friend RocketCop makes his best miles in the rain since he doesn't stop. I tried that but had to give up and rest for lunch. I propped my umbrella in a tree and found a corner of my groundsheet that looked dry and pretended it was dry whilst I ate my lunch, supplemented by a half eaten jar of peanut butter someone had left along the trail (nice stuff!). I had a slow morning involving fording 2 difficult rivers, rather, the same river twice. The rain made the fording all the more difficult and the second one, on a recently downed tree, was particularly dodgy.
Mentally that day was tough since I knew I would have to camp with a lot of wet gear and I may struggle to get warm. I hiked on until 7pm and then started to get cold. I cursed the undergrowth that KEPT keeping my legs and shorts wet and shouted for it to relent and give me a campsite. Suddenly, at the side of the trail was a perfect patch of dirt and a fire circle. I wasted no time and put my plans, formulated during the day in my head, into action. I got the tent up and dried it out with my towel (which turned black). My thermarest was wet and hard to dry and my sleeping bag, although it had been inside a stuff sack, a garbage bag, a backpack and a pack cover - was STILL wet! I put a few damp items in the sleeping bag to dry and ate most of my remaining food (apart from the oatmeal - I always have too much of that). My shirt dried enough for me to wear it in bed, so with all my (mostly) dry clothes on I was warm enough. Even though my sleeping bag was a bit wet, I managed to get warm enough and have a good night's sleep.
After being mostly wet for 2 days, with feet like prunes, yesterday I saw the sun again and sat on a pile of warm rocks and had my lunch and read a book. After a while a few day hikers came by to see the amazing waterfalls on the Eagle Creek Trail. Then, after an hour Rocket Cop showed up! I couldn't believe it! He left a long while after me and had hiked all day without stopping. Incredible.
We were glad to get to Cascade Locks, get a room at the Best Western and hang up all of our wet gear. Of course we then went to eat, drink beer (by the Stein), buy some donughts and cookies and more beer and then pass out. Goodness me it is warm when you sleep indoors!
Sadly I have to leave the trail for a few days now to return to the UK to get my Visa renewed. It's a pain but it'll be nice to get back too and drink lots of tea. I get home on 26th August and get back to Portland on 30th August. I think I shall buy some books and read the paper!