Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

OK, I was wrong

For quite a few years I have had relatives living in the Seattle area and other points Pacific and Northwest. Although I had heard that this part of the world is wet – very wet – every time I visited the weather was beautiful, often with sunny skis and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. (There was one very wet drive down the west side of the Olympics, but that is a different world.)

When I would remark on this they would often reply with something along the lines of, “Well, yes, but you should have been here yesterday when it rained 23 inches.”

I finally decided that the whole thing was a scam to convince Californians to stay home. They know how wimpy we can be about rain, so it was the perfect line. “Yeah, Seattle is really a cool place. Oh, by the way, it rains every day… about 6 inches. You’d hate it.”

Yeah, right.

Well, maybe so. I got here yesterday and it was supposed to be “partly cloudy.” However, the partly cloudy began to precipitate noticably by afternoon. This morning I woke up to actual rain which has continued all day. And into the night. And the forecast is for more of the same tomorrow.


January 5, 2006 - Posted by | Commentary


  1. Having spent my summers from 1972-1979 in southern Washington, I know a little about wet weather. The image to hold is getting out of your sleeping bag and putting your feet into an inch of standing water. To this day, Michele and I have standing disagreement. What she calls rain, is usually nothing more than a fog, ooze, or perhaps a sprinkle.

    Comment by Tom Clifton | January 6, 2006

  2. Those of us who (mostly) confine our trips to California don’t understand this.

    However, I had one similar experience that I remember well. I had hiked over Chilkoot Pass (outside of Skagway, Alaska) with a group of high school and middle school kids and we were setting up our final trail camp at a lake whose name I have forgotten. It had been a long day and as the sun set (around 11:00 p.m.) the weather was stunningly beautiful – clear with golden light.

    Some of the kids asked if they needed to set up tents. Based on years of Sierra Nevada experience, my intuition was to say no. In the Sierra I would sleep out in the open on an evening like this one. However, I did say that they probably wouldn’t need tents but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to set them up if for no other reason than to keep the bugs at bay – but don’t bother with the tent fly. Mistake…

    Within three hours a steady rain began. In my sleepy stupor it didn’t quite register with me – I thought that I was hearing wind so I simply snuggled deeper into my sleeping bag. Meanwhile, the kids were outside putting up tent flies (flys?). My son’s tent mate asked him if he thought he should wake me up and let me know about the change in the weather. Apparently my son said, “No, he’s very experienced with this stuff and I’m sure he knows what he is doing.” Wrong.

    I finally woke several hours (!) later to a complete soaked tent and, as Colin Fletcher once put it, Noah Scape.

    Lesson learned.


    Comment by Dan Mitchell | January 8, 2006

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