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  1. #1
    New Member TheRollingRook's Avatar
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    Question Hard time relaxing/sleeping in the wild. Any suggestions? Tips?

    Okay, so I went hammock camping Tuesday night this week in the local National Forest. It was a primitive campground and no one else was really around. I just needed to get away. I was ok and enjoying my solitude, watching little critters and birds, had a little fire going and was digging the breeze in the trees and the sway of my hammock...until the sun went down.

    I was kind of tired and ready to sleep when the sun set and I could no longer enjoy the visuals in the fading light (or through my bug netting for that matter). The first hour after the sun set, I was out like a light. I was totally zonked out, but around midnight, 1am or so, I awoke to some rustling in the forest nearby. Somehow, I went from relaxed to high alert and I just couldn't shake it. I ended up whipping out my flashlight every time I heard something. I counted 3 raccoons that passed by within 15 feet of my hammock within an hour. (No, I didn't have any food out and even my trash (actually stuff I picked up from previous campers) was clean and untouched in the morning.)

    I finally got creeped out and ended up sleeping in the back seat of my truck until the sun came up.

    I think part of it is camping alone, but I do enjoy the solitude and sway of my hammock.

    Has anyone else had similar experiences or have techniques for just chilling out. Like everyone else here, I've been watching Shug's videos for a couple years now and he seems SO relaxed and able to sleep 8-12 hours at a time. I'm just not feeling that unless I'm hanging in my house or backyard.

    Any helpful hints or suggestions, greatly appreciated.
    (And if this is the wrong place to post this question, I sincerely apologize as I am new to the forums.)
    Sincerely,
    Megan
    aka The Rolling Rook

  2. #2
    Senior Member dakotaross's Avatar
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    Yes, I imagine we've all experienced that to some degree. One of the things I love about being in a hammock is that I can look out and see what's out there. I have yet to see anything, which goes a long way towards me rarely waking up like that anymore. Hang your tarp high so you can see out clearly, keep a flashlight nearby to shine as needed. Will take you a few trips, but you'll shake that creepy feeling.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  3. #3
    XJ35S's Avatar
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    The only thing to fear is fear itself.

    We are pretty much at the top of the food chain unless you have a kodiak or Grizzly to worry about. Not in IN though...

  4. #4
    Just remember the most dangerous animal in the forest is ... YOU.

  5. #5
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Your lizard brain is on high night alert. Try to re-train. Sit alone in the dark with no light and no fire. Get used to night sounds. Same as day but your brain is tuning in on them. It is our ingrained fear of the dark. A rabbit sounds bigger than a bear....!
    Also try a hard day of backpacking. Put in some miles and get tired. Be away from the car. This will help in time.
    If you can get through 3 nights or so alone in the dark you may get used to it and relax. If not then solo overnights may not be your thing. All good either way.
    Keep at it.
    Shug Van Winkle
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  6. #6
    New Member TheRollingRook's Avatar
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    Thanks so much! This is advice is really, really helpful!

  7. #7
    TallPaul's Avatar
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    Hard time relaxing/sleeping in the wild. Any suggestions? Tips?

    My first night in a hammock I slept less hours than I normally would in a tent but I woke up more refreshed and with less stiffness the next day. It was a good lesson for me to not get to focused on hours.
    I tend to wake up and water the trees at night. I use that as an excuse to look at the stars and listen to the night sounds.
    I also will wake up to real or perceived animal noises. I guess eventually Iíve gotten used to it. Part of it has been identifying some of the noises - I didnít know deer would sneak into camp and snort. Now I know the sound and it helps to stay relaxed.
    Finally Iíve had trouble with sore muscles or bug bites or upset stomach so I take the appropriate med in my kit to help if itís bad enough. And I wish hiking more miles helped me but that doesnít always work. Pretty frustrating at first but then I realized my stress about it was counterproductive. I reflect back to that first night and realize I can get by on less sleep and still feel rested.

  8. #8
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    In other threads, many have posted that their first night anywhere is not so restful. Certainly true for me. And you are braver than I am. Once, on a long thru hike, I went to bed at dusk instead of waiting until it was pitch black and I was zonked out tired. So I heard all those sounds and could swear I'd see eyes looking at me from the forest. Once I could swear I felt something brush under the hammock. Weeks later, during the day, I felt the same thing but it was just caused by the hammock anchor point shifting slightly in the wind.

    I often carry a battery powered, motion sensor activated, light - about $5.00 at hardware store. I put it near the picnic table or gear so if some critters do come around, I can see what they are. I endeavor to camp where I am at the top of the foodchain. I'm not worried about myself, but I don't want any gear chewed up or dragged away. If you are concerned, you can stretch a line between two trees and hang all you gear (shoes, backpack, etc.) from it - nothing on the ground.

    Finally - before you go to sleep: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    I have done 25 nights backpacking to date all solo. This does still freak me out from time to time. One thing I like to do now is sleep by a creek if I can. My biggest trouble sleeping is because I sleep on my side at home, but on my back in the hammock. I rarely sleep more than 2 or 3 hours straight.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cougarmeat View Post
    ...
    Finally - before you go to sleep: ďI must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.Ē
    Bene Gesserit??
    Last edited by bbikebbs; 06-28-2019 at 17:27. Reason: re edit

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