Something magical happens on the trail in the rain. With distant views obscured by mist and cloud, the world becomes smaller. Instead of landscapes of jagged, snow-capped peaks, your views are of moss and bark, puddles and branches. Sound is literally dampened by the weather, with the drip-drumming of the rain on your trusty rain jacket as a persistent soundtrack. Unless you're not wearing a rain jacket, but if you're out hiking in the PNW in January, I very much hope you are!
On this particular rainy Sunday morning, I visited Squak Mountain on a trail I've hiked several times - Margaret's Way. As I set off into the rain, cinching the hood of my rain jacket tightly around my face, I marveled at the lush, mossy greenery surrounding the trail. Surrounded by so much green, it was easy to forget the time of year, although the blustery, chilly weather served as a frequent reminder. Water dripped from overhanging branches, ran in rivulets down the trail, and collected in huge puddles. Even with waterproof boots, keeping my feet dry while staying on the trail became a challenge at times.
Like many of the trails in the Issaquah Alps, the Margaret's Way trail is part of a system on interconnected trails running all over Squak Mountain, but the main destination for the trail is a viewpoint called Debbie's View. With the horizon obscured entirely by rain and cloud, there wasn't much to see from the viewpoint, and the biting winds made it an downright unpleasant compared to the sheltered woods. After a brief stop for a snack, I headed back into the trees. Even with all my waterproof layers, the damp was beginning to settle in, so I picked up my pace, ready to end my stormy adventure and return to the warmth of my car.