As I've mentioned in other threads, I'm out in Vancouver, WA, visiting my step-bro and sis. We spent a couple of days tooling around the Mount St. Helens area, with a night spent at one of the thousands upon thousands of camping sites dispersed around the area. This was my first real field test for hammock camping (I tested a night at a lake near home, but that was more a "proof of concept" kinda thing). I have to say I like it. I like it a lot. I'm still wrestling with the comfort issue, especially when it comes to temperature--but I'm getting it, slowly but surely!
Now, this is the first time my step-bro has been camping in a while, and he's definitely more of a car camper, so we tried to strike a balance between the driving/comfort style he is used to and the hiking/active style I'm craving. I think we did pretty well. We veered off on many a back road to just "see where it went"...and found some pretty cool stuff. Then we hiked a few trails and pushed our relatively out-of-shape bodies for a while. We both are comfortably sore, but not destroyed. So...a good trip.
Here's photos, and some captions.
Yours truly, standing on the edge of a lava field with the beautiful and only slightly disconcerting (it IS an active volcano, after all) Mount St. Helens in the background.
My partner in crime on this outing: my step-brother Rob.
This is the lake by one of the campsites we considered. Not a bad view and a very nice campground...but kinda boring. And the mozzies were THIIIIIIIIICK.
One of the wonderful views at the campground we finally picked. So pretty...and isolated. Not a soul in sight (or sound) for a couple of miles in any direction. At the very least.
We ended up setting up our tents a little ways off from the fire. We couldn't find a good place for our shelters nearer the fire, but we weren't going to give up that amazing spot right by the creek for eats, drinks and palaver!
Our campsite again, this time with a closeup on my hammock camping setup. It pretty much kicks *ahem*.
The view of the creek standing almost on top of the fire pit. Awersome!
My step-bro preparing some logs for easy catching. I started that fire with firesteel and the wadded up cotton from a...feminine product (coated in chapstick). I never camped as a kid (not something my parents were into)...so this is pretty exciting for me.
Log dam type thing, a little ways down the creek. Great place to cross to the other side, for the not TOTALLY klutzy.
The creek, taken from my vantage atop the log bridges. Beautimous.
The Rob peering through the bug net on my hammock. Creepers.
The next morning. My entire rig was taken down, bagged, organized in my pack, and placed in "Dusty the Adventuremobile" before Rob even got his air mattress deflated. I <3 hammock camping.
The Rob giving the thumbs up as he prepares to scale the steep and rough road out of our campsite. We almost didn't make it out.
Random people with lantern. It wasn't easy to get good shots in the cave...something about the camera needing light, or something. :P
The flash helped a little.
The entrance into Ape Cave, Mount St. Helens. My second favorite caving experience thus far--out of two. It's no ATM in Belize, but it was fun nonetheless!
How "Dusty the Adventuremobile" got his name.
Me and Dusty, hangin' out. And...then just me.
More random beauty.
Mount St. Helens. Whoooo buddy!
More random MSH prettiness.
Some...other mountain or volcano type thingie, on the hike up past Windy Ridge.