Took my Clark down to 5°C last night & I even though I was warm and comfortable with no cold spots I think I'd need some more insulation underneath to go any lower. I'm still really impressed at how warm it was with what I had and it was a shock when I got up to answer the call of nature and feel how cold it was outside during the wee hours. Felt great to be peeking out from a cocoon in the morning from a hammock as opposed to my tent and it was a great seat as I Had coffee and porridge.
Was my first overnighter away from the backyard where I'd had a test one afternoon (not even overnight) and figured I'd be warm enough. I planned to stay on a rocky outcrop with a great view about 3 hours walk from the start of the trail with the whole walk through dense rainforest on a pretty decent trail (overgrown and with a fair amount of windfall in spots). But all my plans were going bad from the start, first I'd left home waaaay to late and then 30 mins up the trail which is steep as anything I had the terrible realisation that I'd left my lighter back on the front seat of the car, "%$&*"!.
This is a spot I stopped at for a drink and you can see my route which follows the lower ridge in the middle of the picture and then goes off up to the right for a couple of hours to a similar spot on a sweet outcrop with massive views.
This is how dark the beginning of track looked the first time where it leaves an old fire trail
it was much darker by the time I'd dumped my pack in the bush and ran back to the car for the lighter... but there was no way I was missing a hot dinner and coffee in the morning, no way!
The track got darker and the forest noises got scarier (yes, I know, I am a chicken but I was imagining a yowie leaping out and savaging me. A Yowie is the Aussie version of Sasquatch or Yeti... big shaggy wildman of the forest with big gleaming eyes and sharp teeth the size of carrots... or so I was convinced at the time)
and darker the further I went and the temperature was dropping quickly
It was near this point when I realised that I wasn't going to make it before dark and decided to turn around... Man, that was a bad feeling... knowing that I was coming out and back down the valley under headlamp and having to set up my rig, which I had only set up twice before, in the dark...
the turn around point
So I fished the headlamp out of my pack, put it around my neck in readiness and started trotting back down the hill (did I mention that my pack was just over 18kg for an overnight trip? Running down a steep teacherous track in the dark with a heavy pack and a gutful of adrenalin is interesting I'll tell ya, especially with a Yowie hot on my heels and other crashing noises coming from the undergrowth all around me) knowing that I was close to 2 hours from the start of the trail shown in a previous photo, thinking hmmm, not good, maybe I should plan a little bit better next time... So heres a photo from an outcrop half way back to the valley where I was heading into to set up camp for the night. It was to be well dark by the time I found a spot down by the creek and as you can see in the photo the rainforest is fully dark already, there may be some light shining over the tree tops but 30-50 meters down on the forest floor it is completely dark, I mean pitch black. If you had no light the only way you could move at all would be to get down on all fours and feel your way... with the red low battery lamp on my headlamp blinking I kept moving.
In the end I managed a fairly decent setup for the night, ate a hearty and 'hot' meal, ate fruit and nut dark chocolate and turned in for a warm and comfy first night in my hammock. Heres a couple of pics of my rig from this morning.
Pretty happy with it and I think I've got the setup as simple as possible while still working really well. The UQ didn't move around at all during the night with the way I had it set up and I'm more than happy with the stock clark suspension using the drip rings to adjust it, very easy. I think I may get a down UQ when I can afford it but this will do for now especially seeing as winter is almost over and the temps are going to increase.