Mule and I took a trip down to Hoosier National Forest last weekend. It was an awesome hike and hang. We started at the north trail head for the Nebo Ridge trail, then cut west and up and over Browning Hill. We were trying to find a particular spot that Mule had been to before called Bad Hollow, but we ended up one or two hollows to the west on Saturday afternoon/evening. We found an old home sight, with a stone root cellar, and pretty flowers and scattered random stuff laying around and decided to set up camp near there as a few snow flakes started to fall. By the time we got set up, it was coming down pretty heavily. We had some tea and dinner and we both decided that getting under cover and bundled up in out hammocks was a good idea, so we turned in fairly early. It took me a little while to get settled, but once I did I slept very well. I wasn't really toasty warm all night, but I was warm enough, and I used a piece of foam that I brought mostly to sit on, and some spare clothes to help insulate a couple of cold spots. I woke up twice. . . Once to answer a call of nature at about 5 am or so. . . I just recall the snow on the ground being very pretty, and noticing that the sky was clear and the stars were shining and the moon was rising over the ridge to the east. It was too chilly to stay up and star gaze though, and I was back to sleep soon after crawling back into my sleeping bag. The second time I woke was right at sunrise. . . By chance, I had hung my hammock with the foot end facing east, and there was just enough of a gap between my tarp and the hammock for me to see the sun come up over the ridge. It was very pretty.
Mule and I share the same philosophy in the morning. . . We were both perfectly happy to lounge around and just enjoy being out in the woods without rushing to pack up and hit the trail. I had a couple of cups of coffee and heated up leftovers from dinner for my breakfast before he got up, and then we made a fire to ward off the morning chill. By the time we got packed up and ready to head out, it was 1:00 or maybe a bit later. The trail we had followed in had kind of petered out, and we decided to just head east and see if we could find Bad Hollow. We spent a large part of the day not really knowing where we were. We weren't lost exactly. . . We knew the general area where we were, and what direction we needed to go, but couldn't quite pinpoint our location on the map. It was a ton of fun. We finally ended up back on the east end of Browning Hill, and the trail we had originally followed in. It was a good time for a break and lunch and we lounged around up there for a while. After that, it was a relatively easy hour or so back to the trail head.
I can't say enough good things about this trip, or about Mule. We had a blast, and he's a really great guy. He met me in Indianapolis, did all the driving, told me not to worry about gas money this time out, and I almost had to wrestle him for the check so I could buy his "breakfast" when we stopped at Bob Evans on the way home. Alright, the part about wrestling him for the check may be a bit of an exaggeration.
I"ve uploaded a few pics. . . I'll try to get more of them up soon: