Just got back from an extremely eventful night in the hammock in Hawn State Park, in Southeastern Missouri. This was supposed to be my get-out-of-the-house-to-relax-and-give-the-girlfriend-some-space night, but turned out to be a little more adventure than I bargained for!
Getting to the park was fine, just puttered around the campground for a while before hitting the trail with my dog. We took our time on the way in and took a dip in Pickle Creek and smelled the wild azaleas and miniature roses, which were blooming, along with Columbine and some other small flowers.
We found a nice place to set up the hammock and got everything all arranged, cooked dinner, and then I read for a while before going to sleep early. I thought I'd get a long night's rest to make up for being too busy lately--but around eleven my dog woke me up whimpering at the thunder that was starting to rumble, accompanied by occasional distant lightning. I got up and adjusted the tarp (JRB 8x8) lower to the ground in case of rain, and made sure all the gear was under me and out of the way.
At about 12:30 I awoke to a fairly hard rain and almost constant thunder and lightning--everything lit up like day for long stretches at a time. By this time the dog is begging to be let into the hammock, so I let her jump in and start hoping I've fixed the tarp stakes well enough. It turns out that I hadn't--the storm got worse and worse, and the winds picked up to such a point that they eventually pulled up my stakes. I jumped out and planted them again as quick as I could--within the time it took me to do that, less than a minute, I was completely soaked through, so I decided to get a couple of big rocks to put on top of the stakes to make sure I wouldn't have to get up again.
Got back in the hammock and passed the next two hours or so shivering and nervous, weighing my options for what to do if the wind didn't die down and I couldn't get my tarp to stay put. The dog didn't move, but wet fur plus wet me made my hammock damp--surprisingly, the under and overquilts didn't get too wet when the tarp went, but everything was pretty steamy and uncomfortable altogether. And taking off wet clothes in a damp hammock in the middle of a near tornado is not so much fun I now know.
Eventually, the storm died down and I fell asleep again for another few hours before sunrise. Some things were pretty soaked and dirty, but we managed to pack up and have a lovely hike out in sunny weather.
Always assume the weather will be worse than the weatherman says
Always reinforce tarp stakes!
Don't leave that spare T-shirt at home to save weight...