Following the lead of shug and Doctari, I'll do an introduction even though I'm a long time member.
Here's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
In the spring of 2006 I was buying gear for me and two sons for a backpacking trek on the BSA Philmont ranch. In searching for quilts I stumbled across the Jacks-R-Better site and saw these pictures of things that looked like they belonged in a Star Wars movie--- Hennessy hammocks. Bought JRB quilts for the trek, and remembered the funny pictures.
In the spring of 2007 I was planning for a backpacking adventure we three would do on our own, on the AT in the White Mountains. We used to live a couple of hours from there, knew what it would be like r.e. camping, and I thought of those hammocks. Seemed like a great idea, just camp off trail and not mess with established camp sites. Found and joined HF, did lots of searching on line, and ended up with 3 HH Explorers, and the trip was a big
success using them. My current avatar is the three of us at the summit of Mt. Washington.
In the summer of 2007 there came to be a lot of buzz on HF about a new style of hammock, the "bridge hammock". JRB had shown one at Trail Days in Damascus and some HF folks had seen it. TeeDee found a picture and a set of instructions for DIY bridge style hammocks on an Australian Heritage Ships site, and started posting about his experiments building it.
I found the bridge hammock really interesting because of the promise of stomach sleeping (which is my bed-method), and well, just because it is a bit of engineering. While I'd never sewed before, I thought that using TeeDee's posts as a guide I could learn. So my first sewing project was a bridge hammock. I had the good sense to retire it as soon as I saw a seam begin to tear, after about the 4th hang! I've gotten better...
What a gas it was to exchange ideas on HF about bridge hammock designs, try one thing and report it, try another and report that. A thousand flowers blossomed! Being somewhat of a tongue in cheek cut-up, one of my
favorite stunts was a post that revealed a new design, but led into it
claiming I'd joined the Claytor Hammock Cult (which used to have a vocal
I should also say that in those early years I absorbed everything that was posted about hiking and camping. I was getting back into the game after a too-long hiatus. While the character of HF has changed some over these years, one that has not is the constant sharing of real knowledge about all sorts of things, and that frankly is why I'm still here, still picking up a nugget every now and then, and sharing one every once and a while too.
So in addition to the well-deserved reputation for posting virtually every idea I had about bridge hammocks---whether good or bad---I have a well deserved reputation for liking to get on the business side of a video camera.
There's a background story on that too. In the summer of 2008, Youngblood used a google patent search function to uncover a whole bunch of patents dating from the mid-nineteenth century on hammocks. Iafte had the idea of having a contest where contestants would build hammocks described in the patents.
I choose one that was an early bridge design. As it was not especially clever (like the famed and fabled Dutch "Bridgeskin", which won the contest) I thought to promote the entry best I'd make a video. It is on a "scratch" youtube channel, not on the ProfessorHammock channel, so I'll embed it here in case you want to see a losing entry...
The video making bug bit, I developed a youtube persona "ProfessorHammock" and make videos every now and then. The "professor" part of the moniker is no accident, that's my job, in a big research university, where I'm now the director of a institute focused on computer security. It's been a while since I made a video,
it's about time for another. I have a couple of new stoves to play with, and I've been wanting to do a "Making of a GrizzBridge" series for a while....
These days I don't have (or make) the time for DIY projects I once did. There's a long projects list...I don't get out to hike as much as I'd like, but with my youngest son getting to an age where he can carry his own gear I hope I can instill in him the same love for long hikes in the woods that I have.
I make a fast pass through HF once or twice a day now, more on weekends. The days of reading every post are very long gone. I'm not as active as I once was, but I'm still here. This is a great community. I have friends here I've yet to meet in person, but thanks to the travel that comes with my job, also a bunch that I've been able to rub elbows with at a few hangs. I'm a hand-shake away from a bunch of the greats here...been at Mt. Rogers and MAHHA with the Jacks, a couple of times hung with Ed Speer, done a weekend hike with Stormcrow and his brood, another with Dutch where we faced down a black bear, enjoyed both hiking and canoeing with fin, braved the spirits on Browning Hill with Mule, at least three times Doctari and I have hung together, I have meet all the moderators and hung with three of them, really enjoyed 2Q's company on one of the Mt. Rogers hangs.
That's it for now, heading back into fast pass mode.