👣 Miles: 0
📈 Elevation Gain: 0 ft
📉 Elevation Loss: 0 ft
Overall Weather: Very Rainy & Overcast
Let me begin by saying, we’ve both hiked through our fair share of storms and rain. Karma and I have walked through more rain and seemingly endless rain on the Appalachian Trail and on the Scottish National Trail.
However, that does not mean that a.) we enjoy it or, b.) that we can treat the quantity of rain the same in the desert.
We use Open Snow for weather because we can pinpoint on a map weather for specific locations at specific elevations. Yes, paid weather is more accurate than the government’s weather.
What we saw would amount to about 1/2 inch of rain on day 4, 1/4 inch on day 5, and a full 1 inch on day 6. That’s a lot of water for the desert all at once…especially on day 6 where we would have a harder time bailing if needed.
While it’s not like the thunderstorms on ridges on the CDT, rain in the desert can get out of hand quickly. It can also seem not too bad in one spot and still affect you if it gets bad in another.
The Rain Plan
We worked out two plans: a hike-through-it-and-suffer plan and two different F-it plans.
1️⃣ The hike-through-it-and-suffer plan would start with a nero (near zero) day out to avoid some of the day 4 rain. Then, day 5 we would wake up early and hike as much as possible with less rain. In this scenario, day 6 would likely turn into an on-trail zero based on how bad the forecast looked.
2️⃣ The first F-it plan was to hold up in the cheap motel for 3 days.
3️⃣ The second F-it plan was to Uber to where we stored the van and hang out in the van for 3 days. Then, Uber back to where we left off and keep hiking.
After significant deliberation, we opted for the last plan. Surprisingly, the Uber rides there and back to the van would cost the same as one night in the cheap motel. Frugality won out.
Day 4: Grab the Van
We took an Uber to the van and set it mostly back up. Basically, we made it livable for 3 days without doing everything. That way, it would be easier to restore after the rains.
On the way to a nearby campsite, we stopped at a grocery store and got easy-to-cook meals. We’ll have to use our hiking stove and a spare canister because our last dregs of propane probably won’t last long.
Leveling the van proved to be a challenge in the newly moistened desert ground. When the ground gets wet, our levelers tend to sink at a certain point. Karma had to dig on one side to assist the levelers on the other.
It rained most of the night. I’m not going to lie, I felt a little smug inside the van. 🚐
Right before I went to bed, I checked the Pima County rain gauge website. 0.8 inches of rain fell in 24 hours where we would have been hiking. 🌧️
When we awoke, the first storm had passed and left the air thick with moisture. We stretched, took a walk, and streamed a few movies.
I had also forgotten to cut thumb holes into my sun shirt, so Karma helped me cut holes in the right places. Also, I decided to cut a hole in my sleeve for my watch. That way, I can still see the tracking information without having to take my thumb out! 🙌
We spent our time taking turns stretching in the van hallway. This trapped one person on the bed, but that’s the rain day shuffle.
The storms weren’t as bad as we thought, however, they still dumped 1.8 inches of rain where we hopped off in 2.5 days.
We’re did feel smug getting up to 6,000ft on the side of Mt. Lemmon *before* the storms. On day two, we only had a little bit of old snow from the previous storm. Nothing nuts. When we woke up this morning, we saw TikTok’s from the top of Mt. Lemmon ski area with a respectable amount of snow. 🤣