So last January I set a goal to get out in the hammock more. I decided to do at least one hang a month for the entire year. I also decided to sort of "photo
blog" the year, well, at least document each one with photos. I was going to do this large trip report in Jan 2011 but have been lazy. It's Feb 2011 and here goes.
Please disregard the grammatical and spelling errors. I have a limited amout of time to get this done!
You can see all of the pictures here. I will give a brief description of each trip below.
Main URL to entire gallery.
January - This was the Uwharrie NF Hammock Forums hang. My friend Rick and I live very close and drove up on our Dual Sports. We only made one
night and didn't get to talk to everyone as much as we wanted. It rained all night and was about 40 degrees. Short but fun trip.
February - Section hike of the Uwharrie Trail. This was my first low this year at 28 degrees. One thing I remember about this trip is falling on the way out
and literally landing on my face.
March - This trip was very special to me. I'm pretty sure this was the first time I ever camped with my little brother. It rained cats and dogs. Trugracie and
his son came with us on this trip and brought his famous home made menudo. It was great. We drank beer and ate. I forgot my camera on this trip so these
are cell phone pics. The picture of the Uwharrie river in the morning has got to be one of my faves for the year.
April - Did three trips this month. The first was a quick overnighter on Dark Mountain on the northern end of the Uhwarrie trail. The moon was gorgeous.
After my buddy went to sleep, I can remember pulling back my tarp so I could gaze at the stars in the nice 50 degree weather. I watched the sky for hours.
This was the first time I used my JRB 10X11.
- A bunch of us guys got together and planned our first bi-annual Kiddie campout. We all took our kinds out to my land and had an absolute blast. I
remember the weather being beautiful and the kids having the times of their lives. My daughter ended up sleeping in my hammock with me and still talks
about it. You can't beat a trip with good friends and kids.
- The third trip in April was the SEHHA in Hot Springs. Very fun trip except the bugs there suck. Met alot of people and got the best steaks I have ever eaten
from a little country store right in front of the Dollar General. It rained pretty good on the second night but we slept well anyway. This was the trip we
created the Thunderdome by putting all of our tarps together. I met Ed Speer this trip.One of my favorite parts was walking into town and jsut hanging out
at the trail fest section of town.
May - Alex and I hiked to the saddle of Dark Mountain (supposedly haunted) and camped for one night. It was extremely dark that night and rained for
hours. When I say rained, it was pouring cats and dogs. I didn't use an underquilt and stayed warm. Never got below 60. I think I watched 3 whole movies
that night on my ipod. We had some really spooky things happen with the campfire that I wont get into here, nonetheless it was very memorable.
June - June was interesting. I actually got caught up with life as we all do and almost missed my hang that month. Just didn't even think about it. Well, on the
last day of the month it hit me and I grabbed my gear and setup outside in the yard. It still counts as a night in the hammock! When I woke up the next
morning, it was one of those feelings you just luck up and get every once in a while. Just a good peaceful easy feeling. It was so beautiful and warm, and the
trees were so green. Slept wonderfully. Thats the only time I have ever uused that Eno tarp.
July - Another Dark Mountain hang. We just really discovered this place this year, thats why we have hung there so many times. It is a beautiful place and
not too far away. This trip were joined by the one and only Macentyre. This guy has an amazing amount of knowledge in alot of different areas! All I can
say about this trip is that Arn's toe shoes had me rattling off a joke a minute! Pretty fun trip. One memory that sticks out in my mind is my going to the
restroom in the morning and playfully singing as I lose my balance and bust my rear end on the ground. I never stopped laughing!.
August - Every August we make the 6 hour trip to West Virginia for my wife's family reunion. They own a beautiful cabin on the Tygart River. The night
before the reunion, they drop me off by the river and they head for a hotel. Well, I head for the woods and did a solo trip on the side of the mountain
behind the cabin. As everyone starts arriving on Saturday morning, they were surprised to see me coming out of the woods. WV is gods country. One of
the most beautiful places IMO.
- Badin Lake trail hang. Not much to be said about this one. We were bored, needed some nature time and made a quick decision to do an
overnighter and drink some beers. Was joined by Rick, who was using a rig that I made.
September - Had two hangs this month. The first hang was at Stone Mountain State Park. Rick, Arn, and myself have deemed this an annual tradition. This
was our second year at this site and we love it. NCPatrick shot a video here once and I decided to visit after watching that vid. There is a waterfall there at
camp A that is fun to stand under when it is really hot. Every year we walk to all the campsites and just have a good time like a bunch of kids. We pay the
weight penalty and carry in plenty of food! The camera I had been carrying all year finally gave out this trip but we still got pictures thanks to my friends
- The second hang in September was the bi-annual fall Kiddie campout. It was pretty chilly that night and I dont think anyone slept because we were all so
juiced up from running, playing, and joking. I took a group of kids snipe hunting. It was funny to hear them all talk about how they saw the snipe running,
and hoiw they could hear him chirping. Some of the memories of this trip was that it was my birthday. It fell on my actual birthday, my buddies eating mass
quantities of red hot sausages from the convenient store, and my wife sleeping in a tent for the first time in several years. Oh yeah, cant forget the beer
fueled zombie walkers (us trying to find our hammocks after the kids went to sleep)!!!
October - The absolute worst hang of the year. I posted a small trip report on this already so I wont get into too much detail. The black dog you see in the
photos from the all of the previous hangs, is Nube (noobie). The other guy is Alex, my buddy with whom I have been hiking for years. Noobie gets away
from us on the trip and we worry about him all night. Worst night ever. Go looking for him the next day and it turns out he found his way 3 miles back out
the road and got killed. These are the last pictures taken of our dear friend. This trip almost made me call off the whole yearlong Hike A Thon thing. Not
only did the dog die, but I lost my small pistol that I hike with. Took me over two hours to find it. I wasn't worried about the gun, just didn't want the wrong
person to find it, ie a kid. I couldn't believe I was so careless. Turns out it had gotten wrapped in my UQ and packed away. I have since put in place very
strict personal guidelines when carrying.
November - Gotta say this was at least in the top 3 of my favorited hangs/hikes of 2010. Raven Rock State Park and the Campbell Creek Loop trail. It's
about a 6mile loop total. It was sooo cold but beautiful this entire weekend. Rick and I had a wonderful hike and talked about everything under the moon.
Got to the campsite and it was gorgeous. Someone had left behind a pile of wood so we didnt have to look for any.Stayed up really late that night and made
a huge fire. It was very cold IMO! Slept great. Didn't even watch a movie on the iPod like I usually do to fall asleep. This is the night I hit my all time low of
23! My zipper pull thermometer said 20, but I am going with accuweather. We hiked out along Campbell Creek at a slow pace and just enjoyed the day. The
staff, property, and trails at RR are top notch!
December - I was on vacation this week and since I was so busy after Christmas getting everything ready for NYE and my daughters 5th birthday party, Arn
and I decided to just camp on the piece of hunting land I manage. We got out there pretty late, just about an hour before dark. It was one of those very dark
nights... so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face without a light. It was only about 38 degrees but very damp from the previous day of rain. It
was so cold. I think it was the coldest I have felt in my hammock all year. 38 degrees when everything around you is wet is way worse than a dry 25 degrees
IMO. We were very quiet sitting around our fire when a couple of other friends showed up out of the blue (I had told them earlier we were gonna be there).
They had a fifth of adult beverage with them. So we sat around and ended up having a really good time. When I went to sleep that night I have never felt so
insecure and cold and wet. I eventually warmed up and slept pretty darn good. The best part is that like most horrible nights, the mornings seem
exceptionally beautiful. In this gallery you will see what I am talking about. a beautiful carolina sky and the pine trees make for nice pics. I forgot to mention
that Arn slept in a tent that night and regretted it. He says he will never go back to the ground as long as he can help it. While I was packing my stuff to
leave, I got a little sentimental thinking about this being the last trip of the year.
Here is my hammock related gear list for the year:
REI Catalyst Pack doctored to weigh 3 lbs. Took some major surgery.
JRB 11X10 Tarp or OES Clone made by HF member ivleph.
ENO Double in black and gold with whoopies and tree huggers from Paul at Arrowhead.
KAQ UQ from Paul at Arrowhead.
DIY WB Bugnet
DIY Hammock Sock
Campmor 20 Degree down bag.
I hope you guys enjoy the pics and short trip reports. There is no way I could document all of the ups and downs of each trip. I put all I could remember in
the 20 minutes it took me to write this. It was definitely a year filled with experiences I will never forget. We lost some friends and made some new ones,
found new trails and places that we like to revisit, and gained some invaluable hammocking experience.
If it weren't for a few good friends, and an excellent wife and daughter, I couldn't have found the time, patience, or gas money to pull this off. It may not
seem like such a feat for some, but when you have a busy professional life, children, and other domestic responsibilities, it starts to seem impossible to get
away a weekend a month. Last but not least I would like to thank all of the members at hammockforums who have taken the time to document their
journeys, and sacrifice their weekends making "how to" videos. This year was a culmination of alot of things coming together at the right time, and working
out for the best for me.
I will definitely remember this trip and how sad I felt as I packed up my gear after the last night out in December! I can only imagine how people feel going
home after being out for months on the AT.
Looking forward to sharing more trip reports with HF this year and hopefully hanging with many of you!
~Bobby (AKA eflat7)