Even the three hour drive home in the rain was a pain in the posterior.
An excerpt from my Hammock Camping post to our blog: this is the part that relates specifically to this hang. For the complete post checkt it out at http://wanderingtexas.wordpress.com/
We arrived late at the park, and were a bit confused as to how much to put in the fee envelope, since we were part of a group. We put in our last 3 dollars in cash, to at least cover our car, figuring we could run out to an ATM to pay any other cash we owed someone else later. We were met by 4 nice guys from HammockForums -- Mike (I forget his handle...somethingMJM), Slinky, Capt'n (or was that Slingo?), and Armijo. Mike pointed out a few options for hangng spots, then left me to it while I set up.
I had said before that I was accustomed to setting up camp in the dark. This is not even remotely the same thing as being accomplished at it -- I think it took me a half hour or more to get everything up so we could sleep. By the time we got over to the campfire, there were only 2 people left awake. We chattered for a bit then everyone went to bed around 1 in the morning.
Went to bed, although like Rusk, I had to get up a couple more times to let the puppy use the bathroom. Other than that, a good night's sleep. Of course, the lows for this night were only in the 50s, so we didn't expect it to be otherwise.
The next morning, we wandered over to the group campsite, where we were reintroduced, and also met Cindy, TexasLonghorn, and Mtbikernate. Everyone sat around and relaxed, while Mike made an excellent breakfast with potatoes, eggs, cheese, bacon, peppers, and I'm not sure what else. Had a bit of coffee and a tortilla with it, and we were looking forward to the challenge that was coming.
Unfortunately, several people had only committed to camping the one night we arrived late, while others were frightened off by the weather. By the time the rain started, everyone was either gone or on their way out, except for Armijo, Brandy, and me. At least I got to try out Nate's big axe -- it was fun, but I won't be any good at splitting logs anytime soon. I ran a quick errand to Walmart for a better pillow and a headlamp for Brandy, as well as getting some more cash out, and when I came back, we three pretty much just sat and chattered under the tarp, staying dry and enjoying the company.
For the rest of the day that's basically what we did. No books or gadgets. Brandy got a blazing fire started in the rain with wet wood, and made a delcious venison stew for us to enjoy. We sat around, under the tarp or around the fire, and talked -- swapping stories, comparing gear, deciding aloud how we were going to handle the frigid conditions, and just generally feeling good about the challenge. Turned out Armijo had come for the same reason we did -- to test himself and his gear. He was using a Jacks R Better down underquilt (like a sleeping bag that's suspended under your hammock), and his extra insulation plan was a Thermarest pad. Our plan was to open up those extra sleeping bags, and put them in the bottom cover below the pad, as well as using the extra fleece liners in the sleeping bags above us to insulate us that much more from the top.
We went to bed around 9:30, the puppy having gotten used to hiding under a blanket on my lap while we had been sitting around the campfire. She was moving around and being in the way while I was arranging the blankets in the hammock, but as soon as I had them layed out and settled a bit, she darted under the covers and wedged herself under my legs, then didn't move for several hours, and that was just to find a new position. Somehow, she didn't seem to be inclined to drag me out of bed to pee this night. This is good for her, as I would have just hung the leash from the ridgeline and let her out and then back in; I certainly wasn't coming out from under the covers if I didn't have to.
I slept good, really good. I tossed the upper covers over my head (I was treating the sleeping bags as a quilt), and tucked them in around me, and enjoyed a nice warm cocoon. When the wind blew, all it did was rock the hammock a little bit; otherwise, I didn't feel it at all.
The next morning, we woke up to snow! Yeah, okay, so it wasn't sticking, but it snowed for a few hours, and was still going when we finished breaking camp later and left. We opted to get breakfast before breaking camp. Armijo had gotten a little chilly, and he decided to just toss everything in the back of the truck and head out, raher than joining us for another meal. We searched for a cafe, but ended up settling for doughnuts -- and excellent doughnuts at that. Afterward, we broke camp, and made our way on home. On the way, well, that seemed the perfect time to compose and upload this trip report.
Slinky (or was it Mike?), we'll pay up at the next hang -- sorry we didn't have enough cash.
Nate, thanks for letting me play with your axe - it was fun!
Capt'n, thanks for letting us borrow your lighter a few times.
And Armijo, we had a great time -- thanks for sticking around -- it wouldn't have been a group hang if there wasn't at least one person besides the two of us braving it out.
Thanks to whoever arranged the hang, and we look forward to the next one (hopefully a little warmer) ;)
Nice TR, Throkda.
I had been prepared to push the weather...a little. But that was when the forecast was less certain about rain (or snow, for that matter).
It really wasn't until Friday night well after I'd been there, that I decided to bail (as the forecast got worse). A broken tree hugger strap and the discovery that I needed to practice hanging more (to prevent waking up on the ground) sealed the deal.
I REALLY didn't want to wake up on the ground while it was raining.
Finally, after >24 hours, the snow has stopped. It's a good thing it's not cold, or we would have been hammered.
Yes, I believe, for once, I made the right call.