Laurie and I have often joked that we should change our trail names to The Rainmakers. It seems that it rains no matter when we choose to do a weekend or week-long hike. I don’t mean light sprinkles or showers; I’m talking about full-fledged hard downpours that last for hours—and even days. This past hiking season just about sealed the deal for the name change.

Virginia and much of the Southeast had been experiencing a drought that was almost two months long when we went for a weekender in the Locust Springs/Laurel Fork area along the Virginia/West Virginia border. The weather report said a 30% chance of precipitation, so we felt pretty good about it. Clouds began rolling in as we drove closer. The sky was darkening as we shouldered the packs at the Locust Springs Picnic Area trailhead. Within minutes a few light drops began to fall, but soon the hard rain came—and didn’t let up until several hours after we returned to the car. This was the only time it rained for the next two months.

We again checked the weather before heading to the Appalachian Trail’s Roan Highlands area along the Tennessee/North Carolina border in the last week of September. Again, 30% chance of rain the first day and nothing for the next four we planned to be out.  Well, as I’m sure you guessed—it rained Saturday. However, unbeknownst to us, an unpredicted tropical storm blew in from the Gulf of Mexico—and it rained so hard for the next four days that North Carolina and Tennessee experienced some heavy flooding. (We will accept your thank yous for singlehandedly ending the drought.)

So, before you head out for your next hike, you may want to check to see if Laurie and I will be in the woods at the same time.