All In - NX-250 First Hang
I had never used a camping hammock. With a forecast of 2 days and nights of thunderstorms at my primary 2 mile hike-in lake location I selected an alternate, near a road but the road was closed and gated. I had a hip replaced in January and this was to be an easy first solo shakedown float/fish/hang to test me and my (mostly good vintage 80s-90s mountaineering-backpacking) gear for a 4-day 18 miler planned in August with my remaining brother, that we had done 40 years ago, as a celebration of life and good health so I thought, OK I'll try the original hike in just to see if I can do it, and hike back out.
I actually made it to the lake in about 45 minutes and started looking for a hang site. Maybe it's my inexperienced eye, but I saw a lot more sites suitable for tents than hammocks in the Northwest old growth Douglas Fir forest with 100 ft trees having 5 to 7+ foot circumference trunks spaced naturally far enough apart over the millennia for each tree to carve out its niche of sunlight with vine maple in the open spaces, that are usually too far apart to span with a hammock, but there were also many too close together, so just a case of odds, right?
After a thorough search of the north end of the lake I finally saw two trees about 15 feet apart 40' above the lake in a small patch of brushless level ground but with a big rock I would later use to lay out wet gear, about 25 feet from two tent sites. After a hike in under partly sunny skies, clouds had thickened overhead to a dark gray. I thought this is it :( , but I had come so far and felt strong :unsure:. While having a bite to eat I asked, Lord God please give me a sign. As I finished my water and gorp, the clouds parted and sunlight filled the valley :woot:; time to rig the NX-250 :).
One tree is 6.6 feet in circumference at head height; too large for my 6 foot tree hugger strap. Using a second carabiner I can just get the strap fastened to the tree. The other tree is 5.5 feet in circumference so it's in the bag. Using the stock Clark ropes, I quickly tied the drip ring slip-clamp knots from the Clark site and I scoped out perfect 30° angles with a protractor app on my phone (also my GPS) to adjust the knots with the foot about 1 foot higher than the head and some sag; all things I picked up here on HF-CJH :).
But I did not like the fact that I was applying so much torque to the sides of the 'biner gate so I restrung the rope through the ends of the strap and reset the drip ring knot; piece of cake! I rigged the Vertex tarp in porch mode, open to the lake, to the strap 'biners, one of my trekking poles, and to vine maples next to the trees. I admire my work :cool: and then fit my Thermarest into my Enos SPE, then spread out my (son's) 40° summer bag. Oops, it's a right hand zipper and I've got the hammock rigged with the left side to the lake and the open side of the tarp :rolleyes:. OK, noted. I'll deal with it and try to remember next time. I'm a little concerned because it was forecast to drop to the low 40s overnight. I unload my pack and distribute my "soft gear" in the hammock's pockets, and rigged a bear bag.
I unstow and inflate my backpacking float tube, rig my rod, put on my waders, fins and take a couple of laps around the lake trolling streamers and saw ZERO signs of fish. I went back to shore, secured my tube, fly rod and gear, and prepared a scrumptious homemade dehydrated dinner and tea. After a quick clean-up, it's dark so I retreat to the hammock. I stow the weather shield, take off my hiking/fishing clothes and slip on my silk (sleeping) shirt, wiggle into my sleeping bag and play a game of electronic Cribbage on my freshly solar-charged phone. I'm so toasty warm with the bag unzipped I leave the weather shield stowed. I have a sore shoulder and sleeping on my stomach and opposite side relieves the pain, but turning over onto my stomach isn't happening in the hammock. I manage to get comfortable and off to sleep but wake up a couple of times with my shoulder aching, figure out how to relieve it and go back to sleep.
It rained overnight but it's dry as a bone under the Vertex tarp. In the morning I'm thinking, ugh I gotta pack up wet gear and hike out in the rain :( . So I asked God to be merciful and clear the skies. I get up, fix a quick but hearty breakfast and the clouds have parted :woot: . I pack up my mostly dry float tube, gather up everything and pack up the hammock under the tarp. By that time the tarp is totally dry so I put it in the hammock stuff sack, and load my pack with my still wet outer wader socks strapped outside the pack. A quick look 'round and oops, tree straps :rolleyes:. I wish they were hot pink. I stuff them into a corner of the pack and I'm off hiking back to the car through the old growth forest trail under mostly sunny skies.
As I type this at home thunderstorms are rumbling through and I had to let our Labs in because they were freaking out.
What an AWESOME trip :thumbup:. Thanks to everyone for sharing your knowledge.