We've had some nice summer-like weather in western Washington for the last 2+ weeks. Over Memorial Day weekend, we dayhiked and car camped in the North Cascades National Park and adjacent national forest with a little paddling on the hydropower reservoirs in the new inflatable kayak. It was the first trip out with the Byer Madera hammock leg given to me as a Christmas gift. We also go to use the new Coleman double burner propane stove and the new Sierra Designs Origami 4 tarp - tepee, both of which I got for hunting camp. I also used the Byer Madera hammock leg a few days ago when car camping near Baker Lake and Darrington, WA.
The first night at Newhalem Campground, I used the usual Eagle's Nest Outfitters (ENO) Doublenest hammock with a Speer PeaPod supported with the Byer Madera hammock leg. I did not have the Sierra Designs Polarguard Fastbag quilt that I use as the overcover since I forgot it at home. So, I used a heavy wool jacket as an overcover.
I first used the Lee Valley screw
to see how it stays in the ground compared to the stock stake. The Lee Valley stake screwed into the ground just fine but it bent and came out when I got into the hammock. I weigh about 170 lbs when bloated. Since the Lee Valley stake didn't work well in this type of duff and soil, I pounded in the stock stake which worked well.
The first night there was a little draft on top without an overcover. There was a foil space blanket in between the hammock and PeaPod. It dropped down to the low 40s. I slept in long johns and a fleece balaclava. I put the tarp up just to keep dew off.
Crazy J my dog slept with me in the hammock and PeaPod for 2 hours but I had to kick him out since his 75 lbs. messes up the flatness caused by a diagonal lay.
During the day, there was a lot of variety for activity. We hiked the loop trails to the Skagit River and old Indian rock shelter. We paddled and fished Diablo and Gorge Lakes (reservoirs formed from Seattle City Light hydropower dams).
We hiked the Stetattle Trail, the Diablo trails, to Ross Lake Resort
and the Pyramid Lake Trail.
Once the wife and other dog arrived, we spent a night on cots in a Sierra Designs tarp-tepee. Hate to admit it, but this combo was just as comfortable as the hammock but in a different way. However, the tarp-tepee has a condensation problem even though the air's humidity was relatively low.
Camp cooking was fun and good. Learn or relearn something new every time.
The last night in the hammock, it was a little warmer and drier and I did not put up the tarp. There was no dew on the PeaPod in the morning.
The last day we hiked the Chancellor Trail on the Okanogan National Forest, just east of the Park complex boundary. NWhikers.net trip report with photos and details here
A few days ago, on a different set of days off, I drove out to a different part of the North Cascade range to get some more time on the new IK, ride the mountain bike and hike.
First thing we did when getting to Baker Lake, was ride the mountain bike down a gated road to the west side of the lake. From there a short trail led to the lakeshore. The view was beautiful but soiled by people. Someone defecated on the lakeshore!
Baker Lake is a popular spot with motorboaters so parts of lakeshore are nasty and disgusting from litter, huge campfire rings and feces.
This time I wanted to see how the Byer Madera hammock leg worked with the other end of the hammock supported by the car's roof rack. We camped off a spur road of the road that runs up to Mt Shuksan's climbing route.
It was unusually warm this night. Just the PeaPod and DIY sock sufficed to stay warm and cozy. Crazy J slept in his sweater in the car.
Next day we put in the inflatable kayak in Baker Lake at the concessionaire ran Shannon Creek Campground. It was too windy for paddling and fishing and we only lasted just under 2 hours on the water. We hiked the Baker Lake Trail and the Baker River Trail to the Park boundary. These trails were much nicer than I expected, especially the Baker River Trail.
More photos on my Flickr photostream here
When I returned to the Crawford Creek spur road campsite to pack up camp to drive down to Darrington, I noticed someone defecated on the side of the spur road leading to my campsite. Disgusting! What thoughtless slobs!
That evening I drove down to the town of Darrington, WA and onto Gold Mountain to scout out a mountain bike road loop from a guidebook. I could not find this loop. Most US Forest Service roads here are not signed and I was lost. We camped up on an old logging spur on Gold Mountain with beautiful views of the valley below and mountains with a nice sunset.
At first, I tied one end of the hammock to a small tree and the Byer Madera leg. However, I could not get the stock stake to take in the duff and moss covered logging road gravel bed despite banging it with a Pulaski. Perhaps the Lee Valley stake would've screwed into the ground? So, I abandoned the Madera and tied off to the car's roof rack. Lesson learned: bring the rubber mallet to pound in stakes.
Photos and trip report of next day's hike in the still snowy Boulder River Wilderness and mountain sunset camping photos here