El Niño Rainbow: The Perks of Hiking Under the Rain

I hurried out of the door today to get in a training hike before the deluge descended. Forecasters had warned that weekend storms, packing turbulent winds and endless rain, would start around noon and wouldn’t stop until about 9 pm.

Being a die-hard hiker, I thought if I started before then I’d miss the rain. No such luck.

The rain started at 10:30 am as I parked at Rancho San Antonio in Mountain View. Ready for a hike under these conditions, I grabbed my poles, zipped up my rain coat and headed up the tough 4-mile PG&E Trail, a fire road popular with locals who want to get a good burn.

It doesn’t disappoint. As I turned one corner after another revealing yet another climb, I broke into a sweat. Under gray skies, it rained steadily and the wind began to pick up as I dodged mud puddle after slippery mud puddle. Yes, foolish not to consider the forecast could be a little off, but the rain wasn’t too bad.

I’d later recall those naive thoughts as I would be soaked through and pummeled by blustery gusts knocking me off balance. But there were some rewards for my intrepid – or foolhardy? – hike that I wanted to share.

As I reached the top end of the PG&E Trail, this rainbow – flirting with double – welcomed me and some other hikers. It was such a treat after a crawl uphill under stormy skies.

PS_IMG_3463_Rainbow2
The PG&E Trail Vista Point on March 5, 2016, at noon in Rancho San Antonio. Greeted by a rainbow – almost a double! Credit: Miranda Leitsinger

And then, as I made my way up the 1.1-mile Quarry Trail – here was where the wind really took hold though the climb wasn’t so bad – rain-dappled spring wildflowers offered some encouragement amid the storm.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I returned downhill to complete a 10-mile in and out, some of the other park denizens stopped me in my tracks, too, with their new rain bath sheen.

PS_IMG_3596_Red
This Pacific Madrone and its lichen friends glow in the rainfall in Rancho San Antonio on March 5, 2016. Credit: Miranda Leitsinger
PS_IMG_3490_SpiderWater
A spider web displays rain drops, making them appear as jewels, in Rancho San Antonio on March 5, 2016. Credit: Miranda Leitsinger
PS_IMG_3641_Rain
Falling rain, sounding like a running stream, glistens as it hits a puddle in Rancho San Antonio on March 5, 2016. Credit: Miranda Leitsinger

Despite being wet through and through, these moments of grace in the storm brought such a smile to my face as I trudged through several messy and muddy paths. Every step was worth it. As another hiker said to me while passing each other, “It’s fun, isn’t it?” Yes, indeed.

PS_IMG_3659_Mud
Slip sliding in the rain. Mud puddles littered many trails in Rancho San Antonio on March 5, 2016. Credit: Miranda Leitsinger

Read more! Previous posts:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s