Man walking on hiking trail through ferns.
Today’s hike to the Old Grade Road Trailhead, and the before-and-after, were psychologically difficult. This was due to the incredible mismatch between the predicted weather and the actual weather.

Minnesota, like much of the Midwest, has been in a drought. Almost every day I’ve been on the trail, the weather forecast has been for 0% chance of rain – no surprise, given the drought. However, it’s rained (a lot or a little) every single day.

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I don’t mind hiking or camping in the rain, although it’s obviously nicer when it’s dry out! But if you know rain is in the forecast, you can prepare for it. On this trip, you can look at the forecast and see no rain predicated for days – and certainly the next few hours – only to have rain come pouring down on everything you’ve just set out on your campground picnic table.

Or you can wear certain clothing for the day, leaving behind heavy rain gear since no rain is predicted, only to be dumped upon. It can be soul crushing after day after day of this.

Heading to Old Grade Road NE

So, yes, no rain was predicted for today and the next 10 days. Ed and I got up and put all sorts of stuff out on the picnic table, only to hear the rumble of thunder and suddenly have a heavy rain falling. We tried to stash everything in the car and tent, but weren’t successful.

The forecast was for rain from 7-8 a.m. No problem; we had a shorter day, and would start hiking after the rain stopped. Woman talking on phone in forest.Long story short, it rained until well past 11 a.m. So we were hiking in the rain and through wet, gloppy underbrush.

The first 4 or 5 miles of trail (6.4-8 km) were not mowed, with brush often up to our knees and even shoulder high. Luckily, it was mowed after that. But our pants, shoes and socks were soaked all day.

To add to the physical and mental challenge, the mosquitoes were out in full force. We donned our bug nets over our heads for the day. Once the rain stopped, I swapped my raincoat out for a bug jacket. It helped a lot, since my raincoat is warm, but bug gear is surprisingly warm, too. So as the temps rose, we got sweatier and sweatier.

Day Is Done

Probably the most enjoyable part of the day was at one trailhead that featured a rotary-dial phone to heaven. You could pick it up and talk to anyone dear to you who was deceased. I’d heard about such phones on podcasts before, so of course I used it for a quick chat with my maternal grandma.

I should also add the trail here (and yesterday) often featured rocks and roots that weren’t always visible, so it was easy to stumble. Still, the terrain was rolling and not remotely aggressively hilly, so overall it was nice.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Back at camp, another disappointment with the weather. The weather app said sunny all night, and no rain for the next 10 Woman eating lunch on hiking trail.days. I set out all sorts of things on the picnic table, then headed for a quick shower. When I got out maybe 10 minutes later, it was drizzling. The drizzle changed to – you’ve got it – a heavy downpour. REALLY?! 

I have never, ever encountered such a mismatch between the actual weather and the forecast, especially on such a consistent basis. I’m guessing it’s due to global warming. From now on, I’m not looking at the weather app again. I’m just going to prepare for rain day and night, with no warning. 


MN NCT miles today: 14 (22.5 km)
MN NCT miles to date: 641.1 (1,031.8 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 2,659.6 (4,280.2 km) 
Total NCT miles to go: 1,940.4 (3,122.8 km)


©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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