I couldn’t possibly talk about the walk without discussing the rain factor.
I had prepared (like most walkers) for a typical Vancouver forecast – light showers off and on all day. So I had water resistant & quick-dry clothing, capri-length pants, warm-ish (but not too warm) clothing, and a hat.
Little did we all know, it would be one of the 12 days this city gets every year with torrential, painful, stay indoors at all costs rain. It was a huge part of the weekend, and gets a very loooooooong entry. I won’t be offended if you skim, or skip this entirely. But if you want an account of the horror I endured, read on.
It started sprinkling around 11am, with the downpour getting going when I was around 1st Beach. The event organizers had said to prepare for rain, as the walk would continue, rain or shine – but I don’t think anyone was prepared for quite the amount of rain we would get. Lunch was to be at Sunset Beach – but there was no sign of shelter where we could eat our lunch. Shoveling a rapidly disintegrating turkey sandwich into your face does not a relaxing and rejuvenating lunch make.
Regardless, we pressed on – across the Burrard St. Bridge and up into Kits. At MacDonald & 4th there is a Mark’s Work Wearhouse where we (and many other walkers) made a mad dash for some more appropriate raingear. Thankfully, our little group made it just in time to procure the last 4 waterproof Jackets, and some dry t-shirts to go under them. At that very moment, I was the most thankful I have ever been that I wasn’t terribly well blessed by the boob-fairy, since it meant that I was able to strip right down (including the soaked sports bra) and don just the dry t-shirt and jacket without much discomfort.
The jackets helped a lot, but weren’t very tight around the neck, meaning we still had water running down our backs. Until, somewhere in East Van, angels appeared! Some fantastic CIBC employees realized they had boxes of promo umbrellas at their office, and scooped them to hand out to soggy walkers. Despite my exhaustion, I did a happy dance when the handle of the umbrella landed in my soggy hands.
We trudged onward through to camp, with nary a break in the rain, which made for some very unhealthy walking. I did those last 18k on Saturday (in a very slow 4.5h) with only 1L of water and no bathroom breaks – since I didn’t want to peel my wet pants down and back up to urinate. Also, I didn’t stop to stretch every hour as recommended, since dry places to stand and stretch were few and far between. I might’ve stopped once. Bad Jen. By the time I reached camp, my gait was about 6″ long, because my hips had siezed up, and I was mostly waddling in, using my entire body to propel myself forward. It was not a pretty sight.
(This last part was a lot longer, but I ended up losing it, and getting all pissy at MT, so here’s the abbreviated version)
A lot of people’s sleeping bags and extra clothes ended up getting soaked as well, which made for some very unhappy campers. Fortunately I packed well enough (read: in plastic bags) so my things were fine. Added bonus, so many people went back to their (or others’) homes for the night that most of those who stayed ended up with their own tent. And the tents were quality, and were dry inside, so it wasn’t actually that bad after all.
GirlGuide lesson learned: Be Prepared.
Other than that – the rain dampened our clothes, but not our spirits. And Sunday was much more pleasant.
Stay tuned for Part III – the people.