Supermoons, Wild Azaleas and Sentient Fog

We should have gone yesterday. The whole purpose of the hike was to see the supermoon from atop Silers Bald. Yesterday would have been perfect, but not tonight.

We watched the forecast. It was calling for partly cloudy skies and only a 20% chance of rain in the evening. That was at 8 AM.

You know what they say about the weather.

This isn't what we saw - this is what we were hoping to see.

This isn’t what we saw – this is what we were hoping to see.

By noon the percentage of rain for the evening went up to 40%. By 2 PM it had gone up to 60%. That seemed kind of high to me, but my daughter was excited to go.

She’s always looking on the bright side of things and was happy to point out that a 60% chance of rain also meant there was a 40% chance of no rain.

We packed rain gear just in case.

As we drove to the trailhead off 64 West you could see the clouds, dark and brooding, low and full of moisture, creeping in over the mountains.

We were in a 12 passenger van with 10 other people. Not a soul wanted to turn back. In fact, we talked about everything but the weather and not like we were ignoring it, but rather like we were all excited for the chance to hike together. It doesn’t happen often.

I’ve never seen such a happy group of hikers.

By now I’m sure you can see where this is going, so let’s cut to the chase. It rained on us. It started about 50 feet from the summit and lasted the rest of the hike.

There was no supermoon for us tonight, but the rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. It was still an amazing hike.

“How can that be?” you might be wondering. Fair question.

First, you’ve got to understand this was no ordinary group of fair weather hikers. Nope! We’ve all seen our share of inclement weather and a little rain didn’t bother us.

Hikers, in the true sense of the word, will find enjoyment in almost any type of weather – not just fair weather.

Instead of complaining, we joked about the rain. We donned our rain gear – those of us who had it. We reminisced about past foul weather hiking. We sang songs. We opened our eyes to the beauty of a rainy walk.

It helped that the trail was ablaze with wild Flame Azaleas at the peak of their bloom – a month later than everywhere else around the area. And Mountain Laurel was surprisingly still in bloom too.wildazaleas

But the best part of the hike was seeing the fog rise up from the southern side of Silers Bald, crest the top as if being shot out of a fog cannon and then settling quickly in the valley on the north side of the bald.

I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was as if the fog was alive, breathing, thinking, scheming; blanketing the valley in soft, puffy silence.

When it comes down to it, it was the best hike ever (so far).

I got to do two of my favorite things tonight; walk in the rain and go for a night hike. Having my daughter with me made the trip that much better.

There will be other supermoons, other clear nights and other chances. Besides, my philosophy is a rainy day – or night – on the trail is better than a good day in the office.

See ya’ on the trail

2 thoughts on “Supermoons, Wild Azaleas and Sentient Fog

    • Definitely, Crystal! And the rain has so many more moods too. It can be light, heavy, misty, blowing, sideways, spitting…whatever. Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve enjoyed rainy day walks in the woods. Glad to know there’s others who do too.

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