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Water - collecting rain

If I'm not mistaken, every day a hiker has to go to either (1) a store where he can buy water in bottles or (2) a faucet that has potable water. In other words, no stream can ever be considered a potential water source, no matter if I'm carrying chemicals or filters to treat that water.
The one exception being the desert where one buries bottled water.
If I had the time, I suppose I could rig up some sort of large plastic sheet-and-bottle system to collect rain in during the rainy season, if I wanted deliverance from the daily bottle-buying routine.
Am I correct in my thinking?

You are correct in the way of thinking. When it comes to reality  you can't rely on rain even during
the rainy season. We can have few weeks without rain in winter too. In the desert it is always a rare event.
The plastic sheet-&-bottle system turns into a useless extra weight.

I've searched the internet for a description of the rainy season but haven't found much. Is the rain generally short, say, a few minutes up to an hour? Or is it prolonged, all day or several days? And is it generally intense sheets of rain? Or just a drizzle?
I'm trying to figure out why the winter isn't a popular time to hike the trail, given the cooler temps.

Can be all of them. Please read here

This winter we had in early December a three days snow storm on higher elevations and a three days uninterrupted
rain heavy at times. After that there was almost no rain at all until mid March. Temps in January and
February were in the mid 20s C (70-80 F). Don't count on collecting rain in a bottle definitely not in the desert.

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