My first night a Fontana Dam, I arrived late and slung my hammock between a nice, solid-looking telephone pole and a tree. Well, the tree was solid, but the pole was eaten up with dry-rot. As soon as I climbed in, the pole broke and attacked me. Barely in time, I rolled under the concrete picnic table just a little, and the pole came crashing down. It did serious damage to my hammock and my tarp, bruised my back and coccyx and ribs, and put me in a near-catatonic state for about 2 days.
When I got disentangled, I went to see the pole. It had totally rotted on the inside of the base, likely from bug damage. It was at the Fontana Hilton, and the rules say that I'm guilty of a crime if I cause willful damage to TVA propoerty. This wasn't willful. It was dumb idea meets rotten pole.
Who do I report this to? The TVA? The Nantahala hiking club?
My only mistake, in hindsight, was grabbing everything up and flying back to the car on an adrenaline rush. I don't believe in hit-and-run damages, but I don't think that I committed a criminal act. I just got scared and ran.
I'll talk to whoever they want me to talk to, but it needs to be said right up front that the pole was beyond its useful life or that wouldn't have happened; and it hurt really, really badly to boot!
I'd love to tell them that if they won't charge me for the accidental pole breaking, that I'll sign away any liability that they might or might not have in the manner and cause of my injuries.
I'm only keeping the threat in the back pocket in case they want a whipping boy, which I DON'T WANT TO BE!
I've hung from poles many a time, but never again! I'm hurting and freaking out just a bit too much right now!
Now to go cobble together two hammocks into one and hope that I can make all the repairs. I need to get back out now even more than before. You've got no idea what a telephone pole falling directly atop you, only separated by a small bench that you've rolled under, will do to your mind!
I'll be better in a couple of days, and y'all can laugh all you want. Right now, however, I could just use some support! WHEW!!!