North Cascades Park w/ ENO Guardian bug net 7/18-19
Last weekend, I hiked in the North Cascades National Park in northwest Washington state. The trip report with many photos is here on NWhikers.net.
A few hammock comments for you all...
I used an Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) Doublenest hammock, a new ENO Guardian bug net, Speer PeaPod III, 8'x10' Equinox silnylon tarp with a thin foil space blanket.
I camped at Pierce Mountain Camp which is subalpine (clumpy tree growth) with designated tent pads.
The 8x10 tarp is a little too short for the ENO-D when pitched lengthwise. It's longest and fully covers the treehuggers when pitched diagonally but side protection from wind and rain is not as good.
A cold front moved in during the evening and early night and it was very windy. Wind blew dirt and grit into my food. I pitched the tarp lengthwise. The wind was so bad it ripped 2 tent stakes out of the ground. In early night, the wind pressed the trap against the hammock & bug net which was not a problem since it was dry.
The temperature dropped down to maybe 45 degrees F (?). I was not warm (but not cold) during the windy, early part of the night since the wind blew the heat away from outside of the PeaPod. This is a problem, especially since I pitched the tarp as low and taut as possible. The nightime temp was above average. Just the wind made it cool. I had to sleep with my raincoat as a VBL with a thin hoody and thin wool Pendleton shirt over that. Over my legs, was just synthetic longjohns with fleece socks.
The PeaPod's velcro enclosure leaves dimples on the ENO Guardian bug net. I hate the idea of velcro bunching the threads/mesh of the beautiful, new bug net.
Finding good hanging trees, wrapping treehuggers, stringing up the hammock and stringing up the tarp took a little too long in the high winds at this elevation. The hammock was superb when camping a windless, low elevations the first night out. But here, I felt differently. Just throwing up a little tent or bivy sack on the tent pad look mighty convenient and protected from the wind.
It was so windy I had to build a windscreen of rocks to protect the new MSR Pocket Rocket from gusts. I like my old Campingaz Bluet stove better but the Pocket Rocket is so much lighter. It seems it does not put out as much heat as the Bluet and the MSR fuel canisters seem to empty faster.
For one recipe, I left the package of salmon in the car. The cheap WalMart frying pan with handle cut off was great for powdered eggs. One day I want to make salmon patties with salmon packets, powdered eggs, flour, corn meal, salt & pepper mix fried in the pant, perhaps with a heisted tartar sauce packet as condiment.
My ground dwelling combo of North Face down bag, Big Agnes air mattress, plastic ground sheet, 8x10 tarp, and Epco Sleepscreen I is 4 oz. lighter than the hammock combo on this trip.
Through experience, I'm backing off a little from trying to be a hammock camping purist. Due to the climate and terrain of the Northwest and the West, sometimes sleeping on the ground is more appropriate. It brings me no joy to realize this. I wish I could camp in a hammock every time. But in official designated campsites at higher, subalpine elevations and obviously in desert or sagebrush steppe, hammocking is not feasible or the most comfortable option due to high winds or low temperatures.
From here on out, I think I'm backing off a bit on hammocking to about 50% - 75% of the time. For now, I give up being a hammock purist and am going to quit fighting Nature's realities and let the elevation, terrain and bureaucratic requirements dictate if I use a hammock or tarp/tent. If I lived in a region of the US where there were a lot of small trees, rocky ground at low elevations, I'd probably feel differently. Living in a part of the US where camps may not have good trees and/or may be too cold & windy, hammocks may not be the best camping option.
One general comment about the North Cascades Park: when I was getting my backcountry permit in the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount, I was the only backpacker. All the other folks were mountain climbers from Seattle.
The North Cascades is different from other regions of the USA. There's a lot of off-trail hiking required to visit the best, trails & bridges don't exist in most areas, road access may be washed out and travel may not be on well-marked, designated trails. The Park Service considers the North Cascades one of the last pristine roadless wilderness biosphere preserves in the Lower 48 and manages it as such. Basically, North Cascades National Park is not a "Joe Shmoe" hiker-friendly park like the others (unfortunately IMO). In this national park, Nature comes first, people's recreational needs second.
Sorry above the huge photos. I don't know how to make the thumbnails appear in the body of the trip report expand when clicked. Please send a private message if you know.
Beautiful up there!!!!!
I too would do what I had to do for a night in the forest .... that is why I did not sell my tarp-tent. The wind can be a bugger ... that is the main reason that I added doors on my large DIY tarp (after a windy night on a high camp) and added pull outs to keep the tarp off of me as it has broad sides.
A nice weathersheild would have helped keep the wind out of the PP I suppose. Mine weighs 7 0zs but I have found I only bring when I have that gut feeling that I will need it.
BTW, did 'mister J'? (sorry if I butchered his name) make this trip? (I LOVE that pic of him wearing a hat!)
That's my kind of privy!
Can't beat a good view for the morning duty, or is it doo-dee? :lol:
Looks great! Dont feel too bad, I can only hammock camp about 50% of the time due to the environment (lack of trees). It just makes you appreciate the hammock when you do get to use it. The point is getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. Like Shug hinted at, I'm not sure an your current hammock is the best for your windy conditions. Possibly look at others before going back to a tent, if not enjoy the tent!
Awesome pictures!!!!! WOW.
I had an 11x10 JRB tarp last time with the PeaPod. I got by OK, but I did find it quite a challenge at one lake at 10,400 feet. The wind was fierce, and I wouldn't have minded having an even larger tarp as it was difficult to find a spot where I could keep the wind blocked. Of course, we could have left the lake and found a more sheltered spot within a half mile, no doubt. But we wanted to be at that lake with the view. The wind changed directions on us for one thing. And the wind would blow the tarp up against the side of the PeaPod in a couple of spots. I stayed warm but it was a little worrisome, I admit. I would have enjoyed an even larger tarp and or one with doors. I sometimes think that a hammock with doors, pitched with doors closed and the end to the wind, might work even better. I'm thinking there might be less contact of the tarp with the quilts from the wind forcing the sides in. But I don't know, it might be worse. Of course, larger tarps also = more weight.
But Shug's comment about a wind sock over the PeaPod also seems to have merit.
But all of this also reminds me of my experience with the humble Super Shelter. On the last night of my first week of hammock use, in the Rockies. There were few tree choices where the group decided to hang at that lake. The foot of my hammock and tarp opening faced the lake where the wind was coming from. I had that little stock HH tarp. Every one was convinced I would freeze due to the high wind with temps hi 30s to lo 40s. But my main problem was the deafening tarp flapping in the wind. That was so miserable until I fell asleep from exhaustion. Oh for some ear plugs! But I slept blissfully that night, nice and warm. I credit that to the totally wind-proof SS undercover plus a wind proof bag shell. There was not the first hint of cold, just solid sleep.
For other systems ( quilts and pods), again, maybe a wind proof sock rather than a really large tarp? I hate to see you have to cut your hanging way back. But sometimes you do what you have to do. And near timberline can be a challenge, above timberline it really gets tough. And a little 4 season tent sure can block the wind. But then again, if it's real rainy and your on the wet ground, then there is that risk.
Anyway, great photos!
Incredible. Thank You.
But he made out pretty good. He went to a beach party/campout of veterinarians on nearby Lummi Island with my wife instead of the park. Which was fine because it was so hot & sunny on the hike up and the mosquitoes and black flies were an issue in the Cascades. He got to swim in saltwater, go to a party and have fun being a nuisance and clown at the campout/party.
Crazy J's vet said she saw him eat puke. Whose puke it was is a mystery. Plus, he got to go on a hot, buggy dayhike Monday in the Boulder River Wilderness near Darrington.
This is the best sweater photo from the ground dwelling days.
Thanks for bringing up the sock option. I sewed one at home and have used it in the backcountry. I never thought of using it for wind; DUH!
I have a Speer Winter Tarp too but by the time I add a Winter Tarp and sock, it starts getting heavy and violates semi-ultralight standards.
The Super Shelter does seem to have a benefit with high winds. However, I hated that bottom slit entrance, that fragile OCF underpad and that goofy rigging of stretch cord and hooks. Glad I sold that thing. But yeah, I can see how it'd be good for high winds.
The sock will now return to the pack. It only weighs 8 oz. anyway and adds warmth and perhaps some insect protection.
Great point on the big picture. What really matters is getting out and enjoying Nature.
Glad to read people liked the photos and write-up. Makes it worth the time and effort.
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