Look on the Bright Side
On Saturday, May 13th, my friend Tiff and I were both itching to go on some form of an adventure. We had been carefully keeping an eye on the weather all week, but much to our dismay, it was not in our favor. The weekend was scheduled for rain all night and cloudy skies all weekend. In fact, northern portions of the White Mountains were warned to be getting a Nor’easter. Even with this forecast, we both agreed that we couldn’t pass up on a weekend to get outside, do some form of hiking, and tent-camp.
We arrived at the Old Bridle Path trail-head at about 6:00 p.m., both of us anxious to get up Rattlesnake Mountain in New Hampshire and set up camp before the rain came in. For those that have hiked Rattlesnake Mountain, you know it is a great hike-to-view ratio. We geared up, shouldered our packs, and began the hike, with Tiff’s dog, Skyler, leading the way. We arrived at the summit in no more than 20 minutes, quickly realizing that we may get lucky and not see any rain for a little while yet. After setting down our packs, we decided we would set up camp as fast as we could so we could enjoy the last bits of daylight, take some photography, and bask in the views. Tiff, in addition to a tent, had also brought her hammock, so we sought out two trees at a good distance to hang it and put our feet up.
We spent the last bits of daylight shooting lifestyle photography, as we are both enthusiasts for it, talking about all of the different, future adventures that we were itching to do, and admiring all of Squam Lake that lay before us. As it quickly got dark and blue-hour resided, we still were in disbelief that it had not started to rain. At about 10:00 p.m., we started to settle and cook dinner. We had brought Annie’s White Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese, which is our go-to dinner to pack and cook over a camp-stove. It wasn’t until after we finished eating, cleaned up, and roped the rest of our food high into a tree so that animals would not get to it, that we noticed a light flurry of snow starting to fall. We acted fast, knowing that it would soon transition to rain, and put up the rain fly over our tent, setting all of our gear and clothes under the flap. The forecast hadn’t scheduled it to get that cold overnight, but with the rain cooling off the ground and the Nor’easter more north, the temperature started to drop. Both Tiff and I were well prepared for that to happen. In addition to the rain fly and our rain gear, we both had zero-degree sleeping bags by Sierra Designs. Staying dry and warm was not something that either of us took lightly. We knew, even as small of a mountain as Rattlesnake was, that it was easy to get cold if we got wet and could be in danger if we did. As soon as we got all settled in, we heard the rain start to get heavy on the rain fly. Both of us were relieved that we had got set up earlier on in the day, instead of rushing around in the rain. Skyler naturally got comfortable on top of my jacket in-between the two of us to keep warm and we all drifted off to sleep.
Appreciate the Little Things
In the morning, we purposefully awoke at about 5:00 a.m. just in case there would be any chance of the skies to clear and the sun to poke through. Unfortunately, we were not so fortunate, as we woke to the sound of even heavier rain. We decided to get a little bit more sleep before packing up and heading back to our cars. When we finally stirred from our bags and stretched our limbs, we made the decision to pack up quickly and go eat breakfast in the cars. By the time we got down, our gear was soaked and our spirits were low. But, neither of us regretted the choice to make the trip. As we ate bagels and warmed up in our cars, we talked of how easily weather can ruin a trip. The weather in the White Mountains is thematically known to change quickly, and not always for the best. Though, we also came to the agreement that it was, without question, worth it to get wet and cold if it meant that we could hike and camp. The truth is, we both knew that our contentedness with our experience up on the mountain was not a result of the weather, but because of the company that we had in each other, getting outside to enjoy nature, and the ability to appreciate the little things that camping brought us.
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