I turned off the obvious trail sometime back, substituting the friendship of birdsong for the security of stranger’s footprints. Fog huddling around the mountainside frames an eerie scene as I plod up the narrow trail, higher and higher into the hills above. Eventually I transitioned into the low-hanging clouds. Here, thick moisture hangs in the air flattening sounds as much as it does sight. Rather than falling, soft pitter-pattering rain impulsively condenses on everything around. And the tiny water drops clinging to the tips of vegetation brush their streaks of chill across my arms and legs.
To my surprise, a gentleman appeared out of the mist. “Beautiful day, isn’t it? You will be above the clouds in another two miles,” he said cheerily, fading down the mountain. Not long after, the overhead light grew brighter and the temperature rose smartly. In moments, I was standing at the shore of a white-cloud ocean. It rose and fell in waves, swirling about and consuming everything below its surface. It was as alive as anything can be. At the summit, I found a good sitting rock and watched for a while.
If you spend enough time in the wild you are likely to find yourself in similar situations. I am a firm believer there is no bad weather, only bad attitudes. Truly, if you are a “fair weather hiker” I encourage you to take a rainy hike. It takes an occasional rainy day to cherish the sunny days. Besides, if you climb high enough, you might pull yourself above the clouds.