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When it Rains, It Pours

Lupine After the Rain

I have to admit that even after all these years I simply do not enjoy backpacking in the rain. When I get wet, I get cold. It never fails. So chances are if it’s raining, I’ll be in my tent – or huffing back to find base camp. During these times, tea is brewed, the pen comes out, and given battery life, I’ll have my own private slide-show on my camera’s LCD screen. Oh, and I pray for the rain to stop.

It’s my way of making the best out of a situation. I really can’t do anything about the rain except to hope that it doesn’t last long. Thank God that it never seems to last long west of the Mississippi – unfortunately I’ve had some very different experiences to the east – but that’s a different story. Some people seem surprised – they think that I’m so used to hiking that I actually enjoy getting soaking wet, hiking in puddles, sleeping in a damp tent – far from it. My enjoyment of the outdoors will easily surpass the discomfort of sitting out a storm or two, and I will admit that sometimes rain will help me slow down the pace and give some time for me to do some thinking.

That’s not to say I’ve never been caught in the rain. Being in a nice, dry, large tent is not always reality. On occasion I’ve been forced to find shelter within a boulder field at 11,000 feet as a hail thunderstorm passes. Sometimes the experience of being caught in a storm requires a full day of rehabilitation, allowing gear to dry while replenishing energy needed to stay warm.

Photographing in the rain has been a hit-or-miss experience. Often the experiences are horrible, but sometimes things just fall in the right places. A particularly ignored opportunity is just after the rain stops, when the world around me is still soaked yet I don’t need to worry about keeping equipment and myself dry. I had just this experience after a long rainfall, when I found a patch of lupine. The rain had lifted and only a few moments of daylight had remained. I knew lupine for their fragrance, vibrant colors, and ability to dominate a field. I learned this day that they have particular waxy leaves that hold the shape of water beautifully – as though to say, “look at me.”

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