Pics below, but sorry, didn't get one of my hammock setup.
Despite the doom that the weatherman predicted in this region for the weekend, we took off early Friday morning from Cincinnati and headed down to Big South Fork on the TN/KY border. We went to the TN side with reports it was nicer over there. 5 of us total, with me and my brother in law the only hangers (his first backpacking trip and first hammock experience). One of the guys didn't have a pack cover and improvised with a motorcycle cover on his already enormous external frame pack. Made for quite a few jokes, but the guy still hiked the legs off us, even with the cover acting like a sail against him.
Got the park entrance visitor center about 11:00 and the sky's opened up with lightning and torrential downpours. Drove in on further to the Bandy Creek Visitor Center where we planned to leave from. Torrential rains gave us some time to chat up with the friendly ranger there. Very laid back park with just a $5 fee for our whole group to backpack the weekend.
Got an opening in the weather and took off on the trail. Poor trail labeling combined with poor navigation on our part sent us down a gravel road for a few miles that we had to backtrack on before we got on the real trail and into some great hiking. Those from around the area who are familiar with the Red River Gorge would love this place as it is almost identical give or take a few elements, but with none of the people.
We did not see a single person on the trails and we hiked 20+ in the weekend. Saw one camp up high by one of the overlooks with a hammock strung up, but didn't see anyone there.
Found a great campsite that accommodated all 3 tents and 2 hammocks.
I was trying a new setup this trip as I had used my HH in the past and wanted to use my DIY gathered in as it always felt more comfy. Sorry, no pics of my setup. Picked up an Eno Guardian net and have a Noah 9 for a tarp. Strung my suspension through my slumberjack 30 as it has a zip in the footbox and it worked great.
The Noah 9 was great, although you can set up the HH with stock fly in some tight places where the Noah 9 needs a bit of room. Still worked awesome and sets up so much tighter.
First night was steamy and had a bit of trouble cooling down as the slumberjack only zips halfway, but after midnight I slept great. Second night got cool from the get go and I conked out right away, but woke up about 4 with slightly cool feet. All in all I was more comfortable than the HH with pad, but will need to fine tune my temp controls a bit more.
Weather turned out to be absolutely perfect. I like a little rain while out there as it just cleans everything up. We had everything under the sun, including some beautiful sunshine while out at the overlooks. The weather never got in the way, and provided great sleeping conditions except the first night being a little steamy.
Awesome place, and if your around the area you have to go see it, especially if the frequent the Red River Gorge but loathe the crowds there.
This was one of the first trips where I really didn't want to leave the woods. I usually am about ready to get home after 2 nights. I think it was due to a combo of my new setup, the great weather, and good people.
Sitting here eating one of my leftover home made trail dinners wishing I was back in the woods.