FL>Ocala National Forest>Alexander Springs> 2nd Annual New Year Hang
Last year Timberrr and I were invited to camp with friends over New Years and we discovered a wonderful and peaceful way to ring in the New Year. We enjoyed it so much we headed out for a repeat this year. We were fortunate enough to be joined by Bob Mac, two tenting friends, the 10 year old son of some other friends, three husky's and a beagle.
We headed out on Saturday around noon. The weather predicted a 70 percent chance of rain until noon and then diminishing chances until reaching 0 percent around midnight. Saturday morning started out looking dreary but by the time we arrived at Alexander Springs, the rain had passed, the skies clear and the air crisp. Really crisp! Temps dropped to 32 degrees the first night. :scared:
For Timberrr and me, a cold night simply means we get to test our gear before FH3 coming up in two weeks, but I had concerns about our guests.
First off, we brought with us the son of friends who both work retail and would not have had the opportunity to spend much time with their son. It was his first time ever going camping (aside from sleeping in the backyard) and he's just 10 years old. Timberrr and I put quite a lot of thought into his hammock setup to make sure he would not be cold and would not squirm the pad out from under himself while he slept. Our solution was to nest our two ENO's and put some reflectix between the two hammocks and give him one of our 15% sleeping bags. For the sleeping bag we used a whoopie sling to cinch it and shorten the bag length to keep it from filling with cold air. He was snoring lightly when I checked on him at 3:47 AM and again at 7:15 AM. We're calling it a success!
Our other tenting friends did not fare as well that first night. With only cotton layers and no synthetics, they were unable to get warm and froze most of the night.
On Sunday, I woke early and well rested! I walked the dogs, put a pot of water on to boil and prepped the charcoal for the DO. Timberrr was treated to Hot Apple Cider in his hammock, and our guests were able to have something warm the moment they ventured over.
Attitudes warmed with bellies over a Mountain Man Breakfast.
We relaxed around the campsite while our tenting friends did a Walmart run for warmer clothes and sleeping bags.
For dinner I tried a new DO recipe. Chicken Pot Pie. I would change a few things in the recipe, but it was very good!
On Monday we ran into folks who were there last year that were gracious enough to offer us the use of their kayaks. A nice surprise to add in a New Years Eve Paddle.
I think the 10 year old had the best seat of all. :laugh:
With so many dogs at the campsite we attracted plenty of kids from the surrounding sites.
I'm not sure if the kids or the dogs more worn out at the end of each day.
Our dinner on New Years Eve was beef stew. Bob Mac and our friends sat around the fire swapping stories and sharing ideas and company as the dogs rested nearby and the youngen roasted marshmallows.
On New Years Day, Timberrr was up before me and had the water boiling and the coals prepared for our final meal before packing up to head home. He also did KP on the ovens every evening. I'm a lucky woman!:boggle: