Monday, November 20, 2006

Rain, flooding, and backcountry access

I think most people in the Puget Sound area right now would say they have had enough rain for now. November in this area is usually wet but this year there has been more than twice the usual November rain fall. This has lead to extensive flooding and washed out roads including closing most of the access to Mt. Rainier National Park and some to Olympic National Park. I suspect access to many of my favorite hiking areas will not be open next spring, some of the roads may not open again and many will take time to be fixed. I also suspect hiking bridges and trails were washed out.

I don't enjoy hiking in the rain very much, I do some because I love to be in the woods and mountains. While many people think rain is common year around in Puget Sound areas, summers are usually dry and in many years, the dry weather extends through October. Also, a 2 hour drive will take me to areas on the east side of the Cascade slopes which are much drier and less used. When I vacation, I go to areas that are drier, Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks and the canyon areas of Utah. If it weren't for jobs, I would love to live near or in the Rocky Mountains.

I usually celebrate Thanksgiving and winter holidays by hiking or snowshoeing, depending on the weather. I'm hoping it cools down enough to cause the precipitation to fall as snow in the mountains soon so I can go snowshoeing. I would rather snowshoe in falling snow than hike in cold rain.

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