I had a great time. A big thank you to everyone who made it out. It was great seeing familiar faces, and meeting new friends. A special big thanks to Owl for organizing the hang; Dudorino for making the trek down from NE; and Trail Boss for keeping everyone in line, especially Owl.
After taking a little hike Sunday morning with Owl, and then saying adieu, I chose to enjoy the warm weather (50's) and change-out my figure-9's for prusiks on all my tie-outs (Thanks Dude!).
The Hang continues:
Since I already had Monday off (and new prusiks to test) I made up my mind to stay Sunday night. I mustered up the courage to call the little lady to "inform her" of my "decision". (I suspect it is in my near future to "enjoy" a marathon of 'The Real Housewives of..." or "Sexy in the City" (oh, joy!)
It was worth it. Sunday night the air was crisp and mostly clear. The temperature dropped down into the upper 30's, and the wind was light with the occasional gust.
I made a small campfire at the 'love shack' fire ring, made some hickory smoked tuna [ramen] noodle and a tall mug of hot spiced cider. I sat back and enjoyed the sounds of the forest and the warm crackle of the fire.
Sometime around 8 or 9 pm, the band coyotes made their regular appearance; howling, yelping, and bickering. They appeared to pretty [expletive deleted] close, possibly skirting about the trail-head scavenging. They settled down after a bit, and I did as well a bit later...for a bit.
About an hour later, I heard quite of bit of rustling down in the coulee behind my hammock. The sound was that of a slow and methodical approach. Still thinking about coyotes, my nerves were definitely being tested. I'd shine my headlamp down the hill and the rustling would stop. A few second later I'd hear the cracking of dried leaves, the snap of a stick, I shined my light, see nothing, and the sound would stop.
The sound was getting closer. It seemed to be making a bee-line straight towards me. What ever it was, it sounded big. This went on for while until the sound became unnervingly close. I decided it was time to make a stand. I armed myself (with the fire-poker 1066vik had carved--about 2' long and the thickness of my thumb), and made my way downhill to meet the man-eating coyote, Bigfoot, chupacabra, or whatever hideous beast that was stalking me.
I walked about 20 feet down hill when all of the sudden I saw two glowing eyes about 30 feet away, hungrily staring back at me from behind the base of a tree. I knew I was done-for. I trained the beam of light on the glowing eyes to see the face of the beast that would surely devour me. Out from behind the tree came the littlest lone-opossum I have seen. After sizing me up and taking a moment to chuckle at me, the little fella waddled across the crest of the hill, mocking me the whole way. I got a pretty good chuckle out of the ordeal myself.
Not too much later, the day was laying heavy on my eyelids, I boiled some water for a nalgene bottle to keep me warm, and bedded down for the night.
I crashed hard. I woke once in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature, and was soon back in the warmth of my hammock and lala land.
I woke up about 09:00-- refreshed. I made some coffee and enjoyed some hot oatmeal with pomegranate infused craisins.
After a morning walk down to the lake, it was time to pack up. Not a second too soon. The wind began to pick up, and off in the distance I could hear sirens. Listening closely, I determined it wasn't emergency vehicles.
"Wait a second, that sounds like a tornado warning siren."
Tornadoes in February? Stranger things have happened in Kansas.
I checked my weather radio only to find my batteries were dead. Instead of changing them out, I decide it best to beat feet and skedaddle.
In retrospect, I am pretty sure it was probably just the USACE warning siren, used when they open the spillway at the dam.
Driving home, I found myself in the middle of a manhunt. KS Highway patrol vehicles at every on-ramp/off-ramp, and helicopters circling. (Honest, I swear they weren't looking for me.) It was apparently a police chase which originated in Missouri.
All in all a great weekend. I am looking forward to the next time.