Gee they're all rain stories.
Who would have guessed.
Actually I've had lots of great times out in the bush when it's raining as much as when it's dry. I used to run skirmish games up in the Wombat Ranges State Forest near Blackwood and we played there rain hail or shine. I got very good at finding dry tinder in the worst of rains and lighting it. The other guys learned that if they gave me a bit of space they'd be a lot warmer for it with just a little bit of patience.
Having the right gear is the important thing, it is possible to stay dry regardless of what mother nature throws at you.
Having said that, my worst trip was because of rain too.
It was long long ago when I was only 18. I was doing a year long Horticulture course through Centrelink with a bunch of other losers who couldn't find a job.
Anyway, we'd had a mildly successful though also wet trip to Wilson's Prom earlier in the year so the teachers got very brave and planned a trip to Lake Tali Carn up in the Vic Snowy Mountains for our end of year trip. Awesome country up there. I think the hike was something like 6 hours from the car to the lake where we were planning to camp. It was a gorgeous day, but being so high up there was snow on the ground in places, so it was a bit chilly. (We were technically in blizzard season though there are only two months that aren't up there so we didn't think much about that.) About 4 hours into the march one of the girls turned her ankle. We stopped of course and they started to pull her boot off to check it. I suggested we stop for lunch and rest it, then see if it's okay to walk on in an hour or so, but not to take the boot off right away in case swelling set in and she couldn't get it back on.. I was only young and new to the game but I still think it would have been the best idea, and would have saved a lot of heartache later on... But noooo... You wouldn't believe the glaring eyes that were aimed at me! How callous of me to suggest such a thing, they told me we were obviously camping right where we were and went ahead and whipped off the boot.
It seems so much like amateur hour looking back but I was young, what did I know? Anyway, we spent the rest of the day right there and enjoyed a nice night around the campfire. Then the next day there was debate about how to best utilise the rest of the time we had, so after a bad vote the concensus is to walk ahead to the lake without packs, then come back to the camp before dark... (anyone getting any warning signals yet? hehe) So we do that, with maybe two or three grumbling about it being a bad idea. I was one but can't remember my arguments, another was a part time army guy who took his pack with him anyway. I had an army webbing type belt setup with enough gear for me to survive for a while if necessary so I didn't take mine. The rest of the group took bugger all basically, a picnic lunch for the lake but that's about it.
Well, things went pretty well until we got to the ridge above the lake. The lake itself is surrounded on all sides by mountains, and is absolutely gorgeous.. (If you are fit and like that kind of thing it's well worth the walk.
Just go in December or January if you don't like cold and rain.
) We started walking down the path to the lake and another girl in the group started wigging out. She must have had some kind of phobia trip coz she was just convinced she wouldn't be able to get out again once she got to the bottom, so each step became harder and harder for her. We should have listened to her, but instead we all coaxed her on, and one of the teachers sent the rest of us ahead and stayed behind with the girl talking her in to going on.
So eventually she got down and we had our picnic and enjoyed the scenery. These days I would have had a swim in spite of the cold but I wasn't that keen back then.
So time is getting on and we decide to head back to the camp. And you guessed it the girl who had calmed down by now completely wigged out again and refused to go back up the daunting hill.
Being a while ago I can't remember the exact timing of things but I think it was about now the rain started. Our teachers' wisdom at this point was to split up the group and send some of us on ahead back to our camp. Both teachers stayed back and tried to talk the girl around while four or five of us headed back up the hill to camp.
By the time we got to the top of the hill it was a continuous downpour and when we got back on the main track it was like a little creek. Of course with the rain came the temperature drop as well. Then I made my first mistake, because I wasn't that cold myself with the hiking I had just had my jacket hanging loosely over my webbing. The result was that the jacket quickly got soaked through whereas if I'd been wearing it properly the waterproofing would probably have held. So instead of being now a bit warm from hiking I was now getting much much cooler. By the time we got back to camp I was mildly hypothermic, teeth chattering quite dazed etc. The others weren't much better though the army reserve guy would never have admitted it.
I set up my tent-fly which was all I used to camp with and about dusk one of the teachers finally arrived saying that they had not been able to convince the girl to climb back up the hill and that we had to walk out and call emergency services to go get her. It was lucky that there were other campers at the lake that could 'put them up' for the night in the meantime.
So the next day we hike out and call the emergency services while the rain continues on. When they got there they warned us they would most likely not be able to get their four wheel drives even to the top of the lake walking track due to the volume of rain and the condition of the paths. As it turned out though they had gone as far as they could when they met our other group walking out!
hehe they were a bit put out that their helpless victims were on their way out on their own, but I guess they wouldn't have enjoyed slogging their way back up the hill with her on a stretcher so I guess it worked out okay.
We all piled back in the bus and the girl was treated at Gippsland Hospital for mild hypothermia so had to wait an hour or two for her temp to normalise before we went home.
So that was my worst camping trip.
Funnily enough though I didn't mind it too much myself. I was young and selfish back then so had very little tolerance for the girls who had 'destroyed the trip' for us. hehe
And anyway I did learn a lot from the experience and nobody was hurt so though it was a disaster was it was still damn good fun!