What a wonderful weekend! I arrived on Friday night after a long haul up I-85N with my dad, ED. It was raining for the whole trip to Falls Lake Recreation Area group campsites. Since the gates close at 8pm and don't reopen until 8am and I didn't get there until 8:45pm, I had Cwbybld come pick me up at the gate. ED is still new to the hammock camping scene and is used to setting up a tent in the rain...thus he is yet unaware of the great ability to stay dry while setting up camp with a hammock. Needless to say, ED drove into Wake Forest to spend the night with my younger sister.
Once I found a nice spot to set up my site and a nice spot for my dad in the morning, I set up and joined some of the late-nighters for introductions and conversation. It was great to finally meet Gresh, Gunner, Paulie, Catavarie , and Pretbek.
The night was really going to be interesting with a Tornado Watch just having ended at 9pm. Just as I started to walk around because the rain was letting off, the top of a tree fell right by where I was set up. I looked up in the dark and in the rain, but didn't see anything. The one big widowmaker was outside of my campsite's radius and I missed the one that came down. Yikes...that was close.
Saturday morning I awoke to the sound of firewood being chopped. That meant breakfast would be ready soon. With a night low of 50F, I was a bit cool in my summer insulation, but I would be using a 1/8" Gossamer Gear thinlite pad with my UQ for Saturday night. 4WLO made an incredible mountain man breakfast.
Everyone, with now full bellies, began walking around looking at different people's setups. It was great to be able to talk to Paul from Underground Quilts. What an approachable and helpful guy. Very willing to help.
The day's events called for a paddle trip on the lake. JuneBugDawn, Pretbek, cbamos, Cwbybld, and I paddled from the campground East past the marina (where they were having a free wakeboarding demo) to the outlet of a creek the MST crosses. Five of us went out, only five of us came back. I would say that we lost someone of something, but really we just lost part of ourselves. That was a wonderful amount of paddling.
Upon our return, we could see the smoke lingering hazily around the smoker. Our sense of smell was not sure the best way to interpret the sure ecstasy our tongues would be experiencing soon enough. Everyone was starting to pull out their dishes and I brought out two "meat pillows" of my chili. It was requested to be my "hot and spicy" version, but I felt the need to tone it down a bit, not knowing everyone's tolerance.
Silverpalm2x, ED, someone's young boy and I got into a round of ladderball. I think the game went to ED and Silverpalm2x. Good game, though we didn't get to finish.
I can't begin to describe the intensity of tastes at this hang. I was great and had to be experienced.
After the food was the raffle. There were a lot of great items to be had. My dad, ED was able to get one of Underground Quilts fleece hats. His first win! Grannypat one a $20 gift certificate to Hammock Gear, but I had to accept it for her since she was not able to make this hang...what a pain in the butt it must have been to miss out. Between Loki and Gresh, few of us would have had a chance had it not been for their kindness and passing up on winning more than they did. They cleaned house, and passed up on winning more times than they choose to pick something out of the stack.
Not long after we congratulated those who won and maybe coveted their winnings a bit, Cwbybld lead JuneBugDawn, Pretbek, 4WLO, ED and me on a night paddle across calm waters. As the moon's light reflected off the still water and we navigated the roughly mile and a half to our desination we found what we had not earlier. Last we paddled, I lost the calories I needed to build up an appetite, but here, I found a deep spiritual peace. This was easily more filling than the wonderful meaty meal that caused me to loosen my PFD for this paddle.
The night continued long into the next morning with joking and much ridiculousness courtesy of Gresh and Appalachian Hammocks.
The night was cooler: 47F. ED and I slept well in our respective hammocks near the parking lot away from the lake. In the morning,when we walked back down to the lake, ED almost lost his hat to the cold breeze. Visionarylion and his clan made breakfast burritos. It was fantastic to sit down with Old4Hats and Chigger. What really interesting people. Thanks for the wonderful biscuits.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye for the 4.5hr drive. A great hang! Thanks Catavarie for organizing this hang! Aptly named, but I almost believe that it needs another adjective, like "Awesome Smoked Butt Hang."