A group of friends and I parked at Burrells Ford and hiked in close to where the East Fork runs into the Chattooga. We made camp there on a beautiful little spot with its on private beach on the Chattooga. Half my friends camped out under the stars directly on the sand for comfort. I opted for my new WBBB. This was my first time trying it outside of my back yard, and I definitely slept like a baby that first night with my Hammockgear winter Incubator beneath me. I know it was probably overkill with lows dipping into the mid 50s, but I preferred to buy only one uq for my yearly use and simply vent it in warmer weather to save money. With a crappy old sleeping bag rated to the upper 40s on top, I was warm without being hot.
The next day was so nice, that we spent far longer at the campsite than we originally planned. Some genius (it may have been me) decided to start a game throwing rocks at a little pile of rocks on the other side of the river. The first person to knock over the target got to choose a "victim" to swim over and reset the target. Long story short, we decided to simply make a day trip up to Ellicott Rock rather than abandoning the campsite. The hike to Ellicott rock was pretty short and fairly easy, but it was definitely enjoyable. The rock itself is rather unremarkable, but at least now I can say I've been there.
That afternoon, a thunderstorm popped up out of nowhere and pored down rain hard on us right as we were getting back to the campsite. It only lasted about 20 minutes before sunshine and blue skies returned, but it just goes to prove that you should ALWAYS be prepared for rain in the mountains regardless of the forecast (which had been only a 10% chance of light showers).
The next day, we packed out, hitting Spoon Auger falls on the way. Then, we drove up to the fish hatchery before parting ways. It was a very enjoyable, easy-going trip. I learned several key things:
1. It is time to buy a proper tq instead of lugging around my bulky, heavy sleeping bag.
2. It is absolutely worth it to buy a real hammocking tarp over a cheap Walmart one.
2. The water filter I bought from REI was a huge success, providing no one gets sick in the next few days!
3. I can be comfortable in the Blackbird and winter Incubator all year provided that I properly vent it and adjust clothing.
4. Cornbread cooked over the campfire tastes better than filet mignon.
5. I need to get into better shape!
I know the rule is "pictures or it didn't happen," but my friends were the ones with the cameras. I'll try to acquire some pics from them and post them later.