This Sunday and Monday, I went bike camping up at Ichetucknee Springs, right across from the state park there. It's about forty miles from Gainesville, and was a fairly easy ride. The only problem I had on either run was some idiot deciding to honk his horn for laughs right next to my ear on the way back. Needless to say, I was less than pleased.
Several folks from work were supposed to meet me for a night of camping (they're all ground dwellers, though) via car. Unfortunately, to a man, they crapped out on me at the last minute--I didn't even find out until I had already reached the campsite.
As I arrived, it looked like rain, so I threw the tarp up right quick and got everything underneath while I set the hammock up and threw my poncho over my bike. Sure enough, ten minutes later it started raining. The first day rained off and on in spurts until the morning--I got woken up by a particularly fierce downpour at about four AM. Still, with the huge Hennessy hex tarp, my army surplus poncho, and my trusty Guinness cap, everything stayed bone dry (well, except for the hat, but that's why I have it!).
Monday morning found me hiking the trail at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. It's only about three miles, but with the humidity, it felt a lot longer. I went through a liter and a half of water in about an hour of hiking, and then jumped into the springs to cool off. The rest of the day was spent lounging in the springs, working on some stuff on my netbook back at camp, and cooking lunch and dinner on my new hobo stove.
A note about the hobo stove: you can use it to cook with wet wood, you just need good firestarter (I use cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly) and tiny twigs to get it going. After that, move up to pencil-thickness twigs and alternate those with tiny twigs in about a 1:4 ratio until your water boils. It takes more work than normal, but it can be done--I made coffee the first morning after a day and night of rain with little trouble.
Anyway, onto the important part: the pictures! Please excuse the crappy cell phone quality; these were taken with my smartphone.
My Hennessy Ultralite Explorer Zip with the hex tarp in storm mode:
My hammock with tarp in porch mode (I used my bike and a sapling for tie-outs, since I don't have trekking poles):
Another view of porch mode:
A pair of trail photos. The trail up there is absolutely beautiful:
There were toadstools all over from last week's rain (yes, it rained pretty much all week). Some of them were amazingly large. My shoe for comparison:
And, finally, a steamshovel basket that had been left to rot. A tree grew up (or was encouraged to grow; this is right on a state park trail, after all) through the middle of it:
Despite the weather and the iffy companionship, it was a wonderful weekend. Just what I needed to clear my head before the workweek starts again.