Well, that's the last time I'm gonna leave my rain pants in the car in the winter! Because this weekend, I discovered another reason to carry my rain pants...
At a large stream crossing only twenty minutes into the hike, my hiking partner, Still Waters, cautioned me to be careful since she'd fallen at this tricky crossing before. Ignoring her, I confidently bounded across on a wet log. After spending weeks exercising with my heavy backpack, I'd been feeling quite nimble under it's full weight and I totally forget I had it on. To my surprise, in the middle of the stream, my foot slid off and I couldn't regain my balance under the weight of my pack. I ended up waist deep in water, my arms submerged up to my elbows. Never having fallen before, I was shocked how easy it was with the pack on to topple over once I was off balance. I was drenched but thankfully uninjured, and felt really lucky that I fell on soft sandy stream bottom.
It was way too cold to continue drenched as I was up to my waist. I thought about just leaving on my soaked pants and moving fast to stay warm, but I had already been chilly before the fall, and I started shivering. I stripped off my wet clothes and wrapped my poncho around me. Thankfully, Still Waters went back to the car to retrieve my rain pants so I'd have something to wear. I hiked the rest of the day in my rain pants while my pants dried on top of my pack.
Lessons learned this weekend:
1. Rain pants work great as a spare pair of pants and will keep me toasty warm. In warmer weather, I could have gotten away with only wearing the poncho (or a stylish, black plastic trash bag) and hiking with bare legs, but in the winter it's too cold (even in Georgia!), to not have coverings for my lower half.
2. I am not immune to gravity. Sure I may feel strong and light on my feet with my pack on, but I need to be more cautious and realize that I can fall just like anyone else.