I am standing in the middle of the hail storm, at a loss for what to do. I have on my cheap, light rain outfit over my shorts and ultralight t-shirt. I am freezing. Water is running down my pant legs, it is holding my jacket to my arms. I am shivering, teeth chattering uncontrollably. I am worried about hypothermia.
I finally take out my food bag, take out my stove, and undo the legs of the Micro Rocket with my unwilling fingers. I screw on the fuel container and try to light the lighter. My thumb won’t work. The rain is pouring into the lighter, the stove, making everything stop working.
I give up, deciding to set up my bivvy instead. I am walking with Me Thinks, a sweet dude from the Netherlands, who lets me put the face of my bivvy under his fly. I am so wet, so cold. I finally find myself inside my bivvy, under my sleeping quilt. I am still shaking, but I know it will get better.
Today started with beautiful weather. I had blue skies and warm sunshine. I had real coffee and a real bathroom. I had conversations with lovely people and a bagel with butter. I had a ride to the trailhead.
Everything changed at lunch. I was eating with Me Thinks and talking about books and grand ideas. Then the rain came. We walked on. Then the hail came, great big pellets that could kill small birds, that left painful smarts where we were hit.
We walked on.
Then there was an inch of hail on the ground and rain coming down in torrents. Then my feet were frosty and I kept sloshing through the hail/rain slush that was the trail. Then we were slipping up and down hills.
All of a sudden there was a marvelous smell. We sniffed and sniffed, finally calling it mint. The hail had broken the leaves, releasing the smell in one beautiful cloud, transporting me back to home in Seattle, sipping mint tea and watching something mindless, cuddled up on the couch with Ant and a blanket. I was warm, I was happy. The world was just as it should be.
Every mishap has a good side, it would seem — especially now, from the comfort of my quickly warming sleeping arrangement.