Every Gray Cloud Has a Silver Lining

It’s inevitable. When you sign up to hike the Appalachian Trail, you will encounter rain. I know this, you know this, however, it can still be a major shock to the system.

My hiking partner Abby and I were doing great. Day one we made it to Black Gap Shelter on the Approach Trail and summited Springer Mountain the next morning. We knew there’d be a storm rolling in that evening. As the air thickened, so did my nerves. I grew up in one of the rainiest cities in the country. I can handle this, right? Maybe not.

Me on the top of Springer Mountain, excited to take on the AT!

The storm was the talk of the trail and so was the imminent fullness of the Hawk Mountain Shelter, in an effort to dodge the storm. We figured why even bother and decided to stop half a mile before the shelter to stay at the campground. Our hike was followed by a lovely afternoon of yoga, cooking dinner, and filtering water.

“Our tents are designed to keep us dry in the rain, as long as you set it up the right way,” Abby reminded me as I was staking down my tent. Everything seemed good so I went into my tent and waited anxiously for claps of thunder.

Eventually, they came. And after a few hours of my tent being pelleted by raindrops I cried out, “Abby?” No response. So I sat on my little island of my sleeping pad as I watched water drip down my tent and slowly start to seep in.

Abby awoke with the light of day, and probably a bolt of lighting. I was spent, exhausted, and was watching all of my belongings gripping onto the moisture at the bottom of my tent. The last thing I wanted to do was pack up my tent and hike in the rain but it was the only thing we had on the books for the day.

Abby packing up in the rain.

Weeping, I told Abby about how scared I was. One of my main reasons for hiking was to gain my independence, especially in the relationship with my boyfriend. Since the beginning of our relationship I have been halted with several injuries and health problems. My boyfriend, James, has always been there to take care of me. Especially when camping in inclement weather; he’ll tell me to wait in the car while he cleans up camp. This was my chance to prove to myself that I can do it. Abby’s encouragement was also a huge moral booster.

The woods were actually very majestic in the rain.

“If music be the food of love, play on.” -William Shakespeare

At about 9:30 a.m., I decided to get back on track. What could make this situation easier? Booze! Well, crap. I didn’t have any. Back to the drawing board.

Then it happened, the “ah-ha” moment. Music! I’ll wear my headphones while we hike and it’ll make this rainy day a little brighter. Next thing you know, Abby and I cut little slits on the inside of our rain jacket pockets to run the cord of our headphones.

We ran through the woods, climbed up mountains, and splashed in puddles. Each step became a new dance move to go along with my “Swagger” playlist. We ended up speeding through our miles at a record pace that day and made it to Gooch Mountain Shelter in time to snag a spot inside.

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Comments 3

  • Becky : May 5th

    Your tenacity and resilience is INSPIRING! Go, Meg & Abby, go!

    • Sarah Phillips : May 8th

      Meg and Abby, Hope the rest off your journey is drier. ☀️🌈

  • Paul Gardner : May 10th

    Thanks for posting, cousin! I am a little too old to be jealous. Envious maybe!


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