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APR. 25, 2014

Waking to the Rain

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Splash. The raindrop hits me straight in the face, waking me suddenly. I squirm around in my sleeping bag, peeking my head out. The steady drip, splash, drip and gray colors of the morning are disappointing and I curl into as much of a ball as my sleeping bag will allow. Rain. Everything is, if not soaked, at least a little soggy. My toes are slowly becoming prunes and my rainpants have picked the most inconvenient time to rip. I roll over and look up at the blue tarp protecting me from the damp world. Beep. Beep. Beep!  My alarm screeches in my ear—time to get up.

As I crawl out from underneath my relatively dry refuge, I fondly remember the warm and sunny days. We’ve been out on trek for nine days and in actuality we’ve had amazing weather, sunshine and warm breezes, but it is hard to remember those glorious moments when my shirt is slowly being soaked by my saturated raincoat. I walk over to the kitchen tarp. A few students are meandering around camp looking rather zombie-esque. I help get the stoves ready to boil and check in with the students. They are about as responsive as any fifteen year old is at seven in the morning—mumbles and long faces all around.

Then something wonderful happens. We are all sitting underneath the tarp, waiting for the breakfast water to boil, and we start playing a game. Suddenly there is laughter, there is energy, and the lively spirits are back. How are they so happy when they are cold and wet?!  But they are—their eyes sparkle as they joke around.

And this is not a new phenomenon. The students in my trek group have been incredibly strong and enthusiastic. At times when I, as an outdoor professional and seasoned backpacker, have thought wow! This is less that optimal. They have been smiling. This could be so much worse! seems to be the general sentiment. I am constantly impressed and buoyed by their unfaltering spirits. They are so much fun to be around and brighten even the grayest day. As we pack our soaking tarps and get ready to head out for one last day on the trail, someone starts to sing. Soon we all join in and our happy voices fill the cloud-cloaked forest. It’s going to be another good day on the trail. 

Becca Hamilton
Resident Wilderness Educator