Just checking in today. I've been very busy the past few weeks and I haven't had much time to check out the forums. A lot of new posts to read.
I've also been too busy to work on my hanging technique. I'm really not worried about it though. It's strange; I'm leaving for a 1200 mile hike in twenty-one days and the Trail is the least of my concerns. I'm just really focused on getting everything done before I leave, and getting all the little odds and ends together for the hike. I think we (hiking forum participants) all have a tendency to over think our gear and hiking techniques anyway, I know I do. It's easy to do when you're sitting at the computer and not actually hiking. I'm constantly reading the various forums I belong to, and constantly thinking about how I'm going to hike or use a particular piece of gear. But when I actually get on the trail, I no longer think about it. I just do it. Everything I have read and planned and studied just flies right out of my head. Does this happen to anyone else?
So a few weeks ago I had some free time Sunday afternoon, and decided to hang out in my hammock. It was chilly (forties) and very windy. I figured it would be good practice for when I encounter less than ideal conditions on the Trail. It took me about forty minutes to hang the **** thing in the wind (about 20mph steady with frequent gusts to 30-35mph) and another ten minutes to stow everything in the hammock. I reached the conclusion that trying to string up a rain fly in high winds is the most frustrating task I have done in seven years. So I finally get everything set up the way I want it and climb in to hang out for a few hours. Laying in the swinging hammock was very nice and fairly warm. I was fully clothed in my bag with a pad underneath. This made me happy because I'm no longer worried about being too cold in the hammock this summer. What made me unhappy was the fly. I could not get it tight. It was flapping in the wind like crazy. I got frustrated and took it down. So I hung (sans fly) for a short while and realized that the little mesh pocket thing that hangs from the ridgeline sucks. It's too small and has a weird seam that divides it into two even smaller and oddly shaped pockets. Not happy. I ran into the house and found a small nylon bag that could be press ganged into service in the hammock. It worked and I was happy again with space to store all my crap. So I hung with ample storage for a while reading a book. Then the neighbors came out. Who gives their children a shiny, new BB gun in their Easter basket? The people down the street, that's who. They came out into the woods behind our houses to play with their new toys about thirty feet from where I'm hanging. They saw me, but we don't interact so we didn't speak. They shot BBs at the water tower and I listened to my new radio to drown out the noise they were making. I was kind of annoyed at being disturbed, but I was getting some kick-*** radio karma, so it was OK. Then sunset came and I took my hammock down and went inside for dinner.
I'm learning. Slowly. I figured a few things out that day, and found a few things that I need to address. I also thought up a few new questions for you experienced hangers. But that will have to wait because I'm at work and it's time to close up. I was in the store this morning and as I went past the magazine rack I saw a copy of MAD magazine. I saw the picture of Alfred E. Newman and thought "What, me worry?" I think I will adopt this as my offical trail and gear philosophy. It makes a lot of sense......unlike this post