From TheCityGirlsGoHiking attic of posts that never quite made it out into the world; on this bright, sunny spring day, we bring you a lovely rumination on the joys and perils of picking apples in the rain.

Oh, the best-laid plans. The best-laid plans that go awry when the sky opens up and starts dumping ridiculous amounts of rain all along the coast. The best-laid plans for a wander down the coast to a tiny little apple orchard with an outsize number of varietals in neat little rows.

What do you do when the forecast calls for rain on the day you’d set aside for apple picking? Why, you go anyway.

The sky’s gray in the city, but no rain here…yet. Maybe the weather will hold out further south… There will have to at least be a break in the rain every so often, when we can dart in, fill our bags with fruit, and dart back to the shelter of the car.

So off we go with friends S&J, driving down Highway 1 toward Santa Cruz.

And the rain starts.

Not too bad at first. Just a sprinkle, really.

And then it picks up force. And volume.

And we are swimming down Highway 1 through a constant sheet of water. Windshield wipers going furiously; the only indication they are working is the denser layer of water that collects after each frantic swipe.

Undaunted, we journey on. Surely this is the worst of the rain, and it will let up by the time we reach our destination. Surely.

apple-trees

We arrive to a parking area that better resembles a mud pit. Other brave souls have made the trek—we see them huddled under the lifted hatches of their SUVs and station wagons.

The rain has not stopped. But it does seem to have let up a bit.

We bundle into our rain jackets, zip every zipper up to the top. And at first, apple picking in the rain isn’t too bad. Once you give in to the idea that you’re just not going to stay dry, anyway.

picking-apples-in-the-rain

It isn’t too bad, that is, until the rain increases, and the wind picks up. By then we are wet through. And cold. Perhaps this is nature’s way of reminding us not to pick too many apples, like we did last year.

We run as well as we can through the sloggy rows of trees and huddle on the minuscule porch of the tiny prefab shed that serves as office and cashier for this self-serve orchard. Only 20 pounds this year—an improvement.

The day’s adventure complete, we shiver our way back into the car to determine if any dry layers remain under our sodden rain jackets.

And of course, we have to stop at Pie Ranch for a treat.

pie-ranch-yummies

The barn is drafty and chill, but there’s a cheerful fire going in the wood stove, and the tasty peach pies, tomato galettes, and gluten-free brownies are just reward for  surviving the wet.

Oh, and the applesauce and apple crisp we make with our haul are pretty good too.