Smokies Trip Report using a Hammock
This past weekend I went with a couple of other folks to the Smokies. We did a loop in the Catalochee area. We started out on the Caldwell Fork Trail and within a mile we started on the Boogerman Trail. This was named for a guy who lived there back in the early 1900's. What makes this trail so special is that he didn't allowing any logging to take place. There are some huge Hemlocks and Polars on this trip. We did find the remains of the Boogerman's home. The trail is only 3.8 miles and it reconnects with the Caldwell Fork trail. It took us a long time to hike it since there was so many things to see. Old rock walls that were 36" high by 24" wide by 100 yds long that were still standing. No mortar was used in building the wall. Old growth woods, artifacts found along the trail, trees so big you could stand inside them.
In keeping with the forum rules I did take my hammock and have pictures to prove it ;)
The campsite we stayed at (#41) was nice and I did manage to find 2 trees to hang the hammock from. I did have a problem hanging my tarp since I use bungee cords. I got one side up but had to use some rope to attach the other side. once I got that done I finally managed to stretch the bungee enough to get it around the tree barely.
It took me a while to get the hammock centered under the tarp. I would put it up, take it down, put it up, take it down many times before I got it close to center.
I took my Insul Mat max pad which is mummy shaped in hopes that it would do better than the therm-a-rest did on Neo's car camping trip. I also used a 1/2" or is it a 1/4" ccf pad from Wal-Mart. I put both pads in the Speer SPE and placed them in the hammock.
The next morning both pads and sleeping bag (used as a quilt) were pushed out the foot end of the hammock. The pad was also flat as a pancake. Somehow during the night the valve unscrewed and the air came out. My upper body (approx mid chest up) was laying directly on the hammock with no insulation. We figure the temps got to the low 40's to high 30's (no way of really knowing). I didn't sleep cold even with no insulation under me at the head end.
I still don't know why the pads keep sliding towards the foot end. It feels like my feet are higher than my head. One good thing is that I didn't fall out this time:p
I still toss and turn all night. I have learned to grab the hammock when I turn over from one side to the other. I cannot sleep on my back as I tried that..totally uncomfortable.
I also noticed that it looks like the hammock is tilted to one side since the material on one side is higher than on the other side. When I am laying on my side and faceing the open side of the hammock the material is only at max 6" high but when I face the backside it is 12"+ high. Any thoughts?
If no one has ever hiked in the Smokies you are missing a lot of good trails. yes you do have to camp in designated spots or take a chance of getting a huge fine. There are quite a few non-reservation backcountry sites available.
On the way out we stopped at Campsite 40 to check it out. very nice and secluded but the trees were 24-36" diameter so unless you had extra strapping or rope you might have a problem.
Pics are here if you interested