Trying to cheat the weather

I guess everyone has some degree of experience with Murphy’s laws. I am no stranger to it, especially when hiking. There were days when the forecast was almost perfect, I forgot (or intentionally did not take) something for worse weather and it came to bite me in the arse. Or when I prepared for bad weather, only to have it end up well. Several times, I tried to (ab)use Murphy’s laws in my favor, with varying success.

The weather before the last hike was typical for mid-summer, or least that it was a few years ago. 30°C and afternoon quick storms were not something one would expect for late May or early July. Yet, in the light of the recent days, the chances for it happening during my hike were far too high.

So, what was my reaction? Typical: leave sunglasses and hat at home. I’d normally mention a sunscreen but I haven’t used one for years as it would be flushed by sweat in several minutes (and sweat itself works as a light sunscreen because water bends the light).

It was visible that the quick rain showers had some effect on the forests that looked quite dry yet a few mushrooms managed to sprout. The morning was nice and sunny, giving an illusion that my trick might actually work this time. Yet, I was not willing to get overconfident.

It took something like 1,5hrs to reach the first peak (just a few centimeters shy of 1300m ASL). By that time, the summer sun was already giving me some tough time and the almost clear skies meant I changed to shorts – maybe it was not the best idea because of Murphy’s laws and the fact that it could be the best way to ask for a rain…


Ascension to ‘Veterné’ peak


The trail led us on the upper border of the forests, changing between those and fields of blueberries with sparse spruces scattered around. That changed after ascending the ‘Veterné’ peak (translation would be ‘windy’) which was surprisingly without much wind, at least for now. There, it changed to highland fields taking turns with mountain shrub pines.


At the ‘Veterné’ peak


We reached the main peak, ‘Vel’ká lúka’ (translation: ‘Large field’, imaginative as hell…) at 1476m ASL an hour before noon, already almost half-way through and with over 7 hours before we’d depart. So, we decided to prolong our hike a bit and descended its sides to the resort on its east slopes for some cold beverage.


Look towards ‘V. Kriváň’ of Malá Fatra mountain range


The break was not long and as we weren’t fond of taking the barely-maintained asphalt road back to the main trail (road used for maintenance of the transmitter up there), we took the short but hard way up, straight into the ski slope.

It was maybe fifteen minutes after we returned to the main trail when the clouds decided we should get some external cooling. While others reached for raincoats, I was not fond it if as it was barely dripping. Yet, it gained in intensity very fast and eventually, I pulled out the mostly rain-proof jacket from the depths of my backpack.

The rain itself was not that troublesome. The lightning strikes around were a bit scary but not that frequent. The trouble was that the quick and intense rain turned the footpath into a small stream and while my boots are waterproof from above, that is useless when the seams on the front were damaged and the water could leak in from below, which led me to adjust my walking style. At least I was mostly successful and the only water in my boots was what got soaked in through the socks.


Look north-east from ‘Minčol’


Shortly before we reached the last peak, ‘Minčol’ (no idea if it is even translatable), the rain stopped. Not for long, though, as it tends to be. The peak was slightly windy, blowing some of the wetness away from our clothes but it helped none for the most affected part: my backside, soaked by what got between my back and the backpack and on the backpack’s low end, pressured through the shorts. Not comfortable feeling, I must say.


Zoom at the anvil-shaped ‘Kl’ak’ peak on the mountain range’s south end


So, after a short break, we continued. Now, I am not sure if the three just lack awareness when walking and talking at once, or if I am cursed and if I go to relieve my bladder, someone gets lost, but it happened again. Third time this year already!

Having no idea where they lost their way but suspecting they managed to miss the very first turn, I had to go on alone as staying on the spot with the rain returning was probably the worst possible thing to do. To make it worse, the descent was quite steep. I walked fast, on the edge of what I considered safe, wanting to reach the valley before the path gets even muddier.

Eventually, I caught up with another fraction of our original sub-group of maybe 12 people that skipped out the detour to the ski resort and joined them. By that time, the rain was gone again and the sun was beginning to poke through the torn clouds, giving me some hope to get dry – I still had almost three hours before departure.

Eventually, I managed to get mostly dry as we sat at the village’s square. Maybe the fact I was in shorts helped it, the smaller piece of clothing dried quickly.

Hike length: ~27,5km
Difficulty: medium-high (rain not accounted for)

Map included this time, though the GPS log is interrupted. Reason unknown, by look it seems that it turned off when the rain started to be heaviest.

So, that’s it from me for this time…

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