I just found hammock forums and would really dig going on the next hang.
I just found hammock forums and would really dig going on the next hang.
"nature speaks in the silence between words"
and now (in my best Paul Harvey news voice.... for those old enough to remember him)..... The rest of the story!!!
It was friday morning and it was raining steady in Brainerd. Should I go ?? or not go?? My wife was off to Italy for 10 days and as soon as she returned we were due to drag a boat out to Seattle to my step-son and help him celebrate the big Five OH birthday. I had the boat all hooked up ready to roll. All we needed to do was reload the suitcase and go. I checked the forum again to make sure no-one else was backing out. Stairguy pronounced a zero percent chance of rain for the week-end. I checked with wunderground.com and low and behold the sun was shining on the north shore. I remembered the spring hang and my 30 lb pack. When I got home I took out everything I didn't use and the pack was only 20 lbs. So this time I tried to pack only 20 lbs, and I thought I did pretty good. But then at the last minute I threw in an extra T-shirt and sweatshrt just in case. I was getting a late start and on my way realized I had miscalculated the distance by about 1 1/2 hrs. I wasn't even sure exactly where the park was. It was a race against sunset. So I stopped at McDeeeze in Two Harbors and fed the pie hole while I rolling up 61. I forgot to mention that the sun did come out and brighten my day as I crested the hill in Duluth. It left me again in Finland. It rained all the way up hwy 7 to the entrance of Crosby/manitou state park. It was still light as I rolled up to the self registration kiosk. What??? No pencils to be found? I dug through my old truck searching every nook and cranny the old nissan had to offer and after 10 precious daylight minutes I found an old pen. I got enough info down on the application before the ink went dry. OK I'm off. Study the map for a minute and hit it. 2 and 1/2 miles?????? Really???? I might stop here to explain that this old fart has a blood condition and speed and endurance is no longer a part of my arsenal. "I won't make it before dark" I thought to myself, but off I went anyway. About half way through I needed some extra light to find my way. I dug out the mini-mag and discovered the grandkids had been playing with it so it probably would not make the whole trip. The rain had returned, but so slowly that you didn't notice it until you were already 1/2 soaked. "Who cut this trail?" I thought. Up the hill, down the hill, up the hill again, and down the hill....... and the hills were steep enough that rustic steps were needed. And in some cases the rebar used to pin them to the ground was not driven in all the way leaving excellent little boot catchers on the steep...... wet...... slippery..... rustic steps. Did I mention my lack of endurance?? I crested the last ridge and came down to the rivers edge. There was campsite #8 with people and a tent. We confirmed it was #8 and that someone else was ahead of me on the way to #10. It was getting darker.... remember... no moonlight, just drizzle. It was really easy to get off the trail in the dark and several times I needed to backtrac to refind my way. The mini-mag was shot. I dug through my pack pockets and found a little 9 lite led. The kids hadn't found this one. There ahead was a big bright reflective number 9 sign. Great! I'm almost there....... or so I thought. While the distance between #8 and #9 was only a few hundred feet, #10 proved to be a LOT farther down the trail. Maybe 1/2 mile???? Or so it seemed to me........ tired....... winded.......wet.... did I mention my lack of endurance? I was beginning to think I had somehow missed site #10 and I was doomed to wandering the wet woods until dawn. I would stop to catch me breath for few seconds, and turn my little lite off to conserve the energy while standing still. Was that a flash of very dim light over to the right??? I headed back up the trail a little more. I stopped again and turned my light off. THERE!! I saw it again. I could hear talking. "Hello" I shouted out. They heard me and headlamps were pointing my way. I flashed my light back at them and started making my way toward them. Pizza met me at another rustic set of stairs and I joined the group. There was no dry place to sit down so I pulled out my poncho, laid it over a log and took a seat and chatted untill I cooled down. Unfortunately I went from sweaty and wet to downright cold. It was time to feather up! I managed to find an easy clean spot to hang my blackbird under my mombajamba tarp (1st trip out) I switched out my wet jacket and T for the dry ones I packed at the last minute. Then hung my winter yetti and siera sniveler, kicked off my boots and dove in. I did isometrics inside the hammock until the chills went away and settled into a long night of waking up about every hr to climb out of the bird to pee.... (did I mention I'm getting older?) Morning eventually came and I found I had just barely enough water left to rehydrate some eggs and bacon. It was time to roll back on out of there. I tried to keep up with Stairguy, but the stamina thing eventually took me out of the race.... or casual strole... depending on how you looked at it. I eventually made it back to the truck and had time to recover somewhat while smoking some of Stairguys cigars chewing the fat about gear sitting on the tailgate.
The whole excursion sounds miserable and paifull. It was! For "me." But I'm hoping to turn some of that around in the future, at least for a while. The way I see it, theres slow-motion, and then there's no-motion. Even at a snails pace I'd rather be out in the woods, living, than asleep in front of the television. I loved every minute of it, especially the comraderie, the challenges of my health and age. The scenery was absolutely beautiful (in the day light). I look foreward to meeting more of you hangers and swapping stories around the campfire. Oh yah, when I got home I weighed my wet pack with my wet clothes and gear.... again 30 lbs. New goals....... learn to pee without getting out of the hammock.
Great report AJ. It was nice meeting you. You sounded pretty beat when you got to camp but that's part of the fun!
Great video, beautiful country up there. What pack do you have? I'm digg'n the woodland camo.
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Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace without end to you.
adapted from - ancient gaelic runes
Great report AJ. Has been my pleasure to share cigars w/you on three hangs. Had all I could do to keep up w/Madhob on the hike out Sunday morn............He's 30 and I hit 60 in 21 days. Yes, thats the day Kennedy was assassinated, just in case anyone wants to send expensive birthday gifts.Will do a slow hike w/you any day over the mileage mongers. See you on the trail in the future. Will plan my mileage w/you.
" Wiggs "
AJ you sound a little like me. Sometimes when I'm out there huffing and puffing with my severe asthuma, I wonder if I should give this hikeing thing up? As you know you you can only go so fast. Take you time and enjoy the hike. Just start earlier next time. Hike with me next time, we might go at the slow pace.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.