I was so excited as we set out to drive to the Parc National de la Jacque-Cartier for a hike and to finally see the Laurentides. Although the famed Canadian forest is filled with pine and maple trees and not terribly different than the hiking on the east coast of the US, I had missed the lush greenness of the forests and hikes of my youth.
We started out with sunny skies, but the drizzle began 10 minutes in. Drizzle was fine, we could handle some drizzle. I started questioning my judgement as we passed by people running past us towards the trailhead, but pushed it aside, scoffed. We talked about how lame everyone was being for being afraid of a little rain.
We soon realized that living in California had seriously damaged our storm radar. With a quick humidity check and a glance upwards, we had been used to simply being able to sense a storm coming. But after three summers of constant sunshine, it didn’t occur to us to even wonder about the rain. So of course, it began to pour for a good 30 minutes.
It had never occurred to me to check the weather prior to leaving for the day, and I had simply tossed my gear into a backpack and left it at that. Not having proper rain protection was very out of the ordinary for me. I usually bring our waterproof rain sleeves and a first aid kit but had left both at home. At the time, my protection for electronic equipment was extra garbage bags to wrap everything up in. Up until then, it had worked quite well since we hadn’t gotten caught in heavy rain, and never for more than a few minutes. Luckily, I now have my gear system down pat, and I use this backpack, which I can easily make waterproof by pulling up the rain sleeve. I broke down and bought a waterproof case for my iPhone, and now I can whip it out while it’s raining without any fears.
I immediately wanted to turn back, but A had been itching to hike. I wanted to hike too, but I was not in the mood to get wet. Worrying about my gear was too distracting and I couldn’t manage to overcome it. But I didn’t want to disappoint A and have our drive up into the mountains be for nothing, so I grumbled and decided to go onward. We continued on after wrapping up everything in a garbage bag and using a sweatshirt to cushion everything as much as possible.
It was a pretty steady and heavy rainfall, but luckily, we didn’t get too wet thanks to the cover of the trees all around us. But every once in a while, the rain would come down even harder, and anyone within a 10 mile radius could sense my resentment growing in direct correlation with the percentage of my clothes soaked.
A, being the lovely husband that he is, asked several times if I wanted to turn back. Each time, I insisted that I was fine, and then quickly went back to my silent grumbling as I plodded through the mud behind him. I tried to make the best of it by whipping out my phone on the sly and taking some snaps, but it was difficult to say the least. I was getting more and more soaked each minute. My phone kept getting wet and I was quickly running out of surfaces to dry it on. Finally, he couldn’t take my silent snark and decided that we were heading back. It finally kicked in that my brattiness was ruining the entire experience for him, and I resolved to change it.
I had to spend a good five minutes convincing him that I genuinely wanted to continue the hike, even as the rain was blinding me. In a scene out of a rom-com, he cut the debate short by walking back towards the trailhead, and to make my point, I started walking in the other direction. After I pointed out that we were probably already more than halfway around the loop, he finally conceded and we went along.
Soon after, it stopped raining and everything became magic. Drops of water hung off of every single surface in the forest and were glistening in the sun that had suddenly appeared. After I was sure the rain had stopped for good, I took my time and shot some carefully composed photos instead of quickly getting something in the frame and clicking.
We paused over a particularly beautiful scene and I apologized for being annoying and thanked him for pushing to continue the hike despite the thunderstorm. I had done the same thing for A many a time, but this was the first time he had done the same for me. As the primary planner and organizer of all of our trips (even for his work conferences!), I always enjoy seeing A have fun because of a trip I created. When he’s out of his comfort zone, I encourage him to push through. It’s a system that works beautifully for us, but I dream of the day A will have the time to plan a trip on his own.
It was a twist for me to be on the other end of that dynamic, but it was also nicer than I expected. I’m not one to be afraid of adventure, but having someone there to push you when you need it is priceless, even if the push is something small like going for a hike in the rain.