(PLEASE NOTE: Photos taken during this hike are at my BLOG.)
So what do you does one do on a rainy weekend? Well, hike of course! My friend Marty lives and works in Boston during the week, and only gets up to NH on weekends. So, regardless of whether the weather is good or otherwise, we often do a weekend hike together.
Since this first day of October was particularly rainy we opted to reduce our exposure to mud and slippery rocks and roots by incorporating a long stretch of backcountry roadway into our hike. Our destination was the lean-to that overlooks Sawyer Pond. Here we could get out of the rain and have a dry place to eat lunch.
Although some might shun the idea of hiking with an umbrella, this is exactly what we did for large segments of our hike. It has its advantages. An umbrella keeps you relatively dry without the need for a rain jacket, or poncho, or similar gear, all of which can be become quite hot and clammy when hiking for an extended period of time.
Our hike began on the Sawyer River Road which is still closed to vehicular traffic due to severe damage caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Both of us had seen photos of this damage, but to see it in-person was even more dramatic!
Unlike some hikes along roadways which can be boring, this road provides areas of interest along the way. There are opportunities to view picturesque brooks and rivers. And, there are vistas of nearby mountains. However, on a rainy/misty day, the mountains are seen only as faint silhouettes. Regardless of the weather, there are beauties of nature to see and admire that are close by. This is particularly true during the autumn season when there are a variety of colorful leaves.
Eventually, we needed to head off the roadway onto the Sawyer Pond Trail. As was expected on such a rainy day, we encountered muddy conditions, plus slippery rocks and roots. But it was a very limited exposure and certainly tolerable. Once we reached the lean-to at Sawyer Pond, there were some nice (albeit misty) views overlooking the pond.
Just as we were leaving Sawyer Pond for the return leg of our journey, we saw a team of ducks. My bird identification skills are not the best, but I think these were Merganser ducks.
Just as a footnote to our trek along the Sawyer River Road, we opted to forego a stopover at the remnants of the old village of Livermore. Both Marty and I had explored these ruins on previous occasions. For any reader who is unaware, Livermore was a logging town built in 1874. It was in its prime until about 1930 when the last mill closed, and in 1951 the town was officially dissolved by an act of the New Hampshire legislature. (Click HERE to read more about Livermore, and once there, be sure to click on the link to the audio slide show.)
To sum it up, a steady diet of hiking in the rain would not be something I'd find to be pleasurable. However, our rainy day adventure became an enjoyable experience by going with the flow (pun intended) and adjusting our hike to meet the conditions presented to us. It might have been somewhat less enjoyable if the entire trek had been on muddy trails replete with slippery rocks and roots. Our exposure to those conditions was limited by trekking along a backcountry road for the biggest chunk of our hike.