Fakahatchee State Preserve State Park
Been awhile since I have been around here. Various aspects of life were conspiring to keep me away from certain things that I enjoy. Now that those are out of the way, let’s get down, or up, to hanging!!
The weather has changed here in South Florida. I had a couple days off during the week. Time to hit the woods.
The initial plan was to take a two-night getaway. Spend some time wandering around Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, find a few of the higher terrain geocaches out there, hang the hammock, spend the night, hike out and move to Collier Seminole State Park and do the same. Ended up hitting both parks but only spending one night in the Fak. Which was fine.
First off, the Fak has been considered the Amazon of the US. There are more orchid species here than any other habitat in the US. Unfortunately, this time of year there are no blooms. I intend on spending a couple days there in a few months when the orchids begin to bloom. I do know somebody who spent a week there in June. He hung. I have been on several orchid hunting (photographing, not harvesting) day trips to the Fak. It is absolutely beautiful country. Depending on the time of year, you may or may not get wet.
The day was beautiful. It started out cool, warmed up under a clear blue sky, and cooled off again in the evening. I hit one trail that went through a slough and did some wading. Unfortunately, the camera was out of gas at that point.
The intention was to spend the first night in the Four Stake Prairie. It is an open space with cypress trees around. I expected to be able to find a relatively dry spot, which I did. Still damp on the ground but no standing water except in some of the buggy tracks.
My time management wasn’t the best, as usual! So I was pressed to find a hanging spot before it got too dark. I ended up settling on a spot that had one decent tree and another that was a little small. After some adjustment, I was able to get a decent hang angle. The pics are prior to me making the adjustments.
It took me a little longer to hang the rig but I wasn’t in any big hurry. Still certainly much shorter than pitching a tent.
This was my first trip using the Hammock Gear ¾ underquilt. It worked superb. Need to work on the adjustment a little. I do not have the zipper mod on the Hennessy but was able to make small adjustments through the bug net. I’m either going to get the mod or just splurge for another ‘mock.
My top quilt was just a Lafuma 40 degree bag, unzipped. It performed well. I wore a pair of Bass Pro polyester longjohns, a thin merino wool long-sleeve base layer over a poly t-shirt. Topped with a watch cap, I was fine. I ended up barefoot because the person who packed my pack forgot to add spare socks and mine were wet. I need to talk to that person who packed for me!! :rolleyes:
Initially I wasn’t going to fly the tarp. It was breezy so I decided to fly it as a windbreak. When the breeze laid down, I considered taking it off. Glad I didn’t. As dry as it was during the day, the dew still fell.
Oh yeah, I didn’t have a thermometer but when I got back to the car at 9A the next morning after a couple hours of sunshine, it was 44. The weather station at Ochopee reported an overnight low of 39. I would say that I was right on the threshold of being chilly. A few more degrees or maybe a breeze and I would have been chilled. As it was, I only had to adjust the feet a little (I have since cut a foot pad) during the night.
When I awoke in the morning, the dew had settled and I was glad I flew the tarp. It was the small one included in the HH. Of course, a tarp doesn’t completely protect against dew as it is not falling water but it helped.
I was able to get everything in the stuff sack without too much of a mess. I use snakeskins. The tarp gave me some problems. I still need to work on my line management.
All in all it was a decent hang. Time spent in the woods is always (well, usually) good times. There are some things I will do differently next time but that’s what it is all about, perfecting your gear.
This was my first trip using the Gregory Z30. This pack is advertised as a larger daypack. I would be perfectly comfortable with this pack on a 2 or 3 day trip, or even longer depending on the availability of water. Of course not hauling a lot of northern winter gear made things easier. On a summer trip here in FL, I would need to carry an additional bladder that may be cumbersome but I have read this pack handles a little overweight well.
So, questions for the experts. How do you handle a damp or wet tarp/hammock? Anybody familiar with the newer Z30, feel free to give me some packing tips. What do you put where? I had the sleeping bag and hammock (with quilt/tarp, etc.) in sacks in the bottom. Food bag, with stove and pot, on the top with water bladder in the bladder sleeve. A few miscellaneous items in the top pocket and my alcohol container in one of the side mesh pockets.
Thanks for y’alls help over the last year in helping me get geared up. Next trip coming up in February.
Photos in gallery under "Fak Preserve". Should I attach here? Oh and by the way, I have since discovered that a camping permit is required in this area. I saw no mention of it in any literature. A buddy said he's surprised they didn't come looking for me. Oops.
Rangers and Law Enforcement in Fakahatchee
There is a new sheriff in town at the Fakahatchee. Due to the changes in law enforcement for the Parks these guys are vigilant and really well equipped. They keep mud buggies and ATV's at the park and patrol 24/7 because of poachers. This is no longer a good place to hang out. If the crazy rednecks don't get you (there are hundreds of inbred inholders) the law surely will. Crew might be a better place to hang.