Earlier this week I did an overnighter in Zaleski State Forest in Ohio. In the past I've hiked the Southern Loop in a single day (~10 miles) and also done a couple of overnighters by just hiking in to the closest campsite (about 2 miles in) and then hiking back out. This time I planned to hike the first six miles, camp, and hike out the next morning.
The big challenge for me this time was that this was my first "winter" hammock camping (or any real winter camping -- unless you include one night cowboy camping with a friend in the woods on the family farm). So, this trip was a chance to get out in the backcountry and test out my rig and my skills and my fortitude -- which weren't tested in the same way with my back yard trial runs.
Things went pretty well. Despite rain almost the whole 6 mile hike in, it was a pleasurable walk to Camp D. Once getting dry and making some hot soup, I got my Hennessy hex tarp set up and my ENO-DN set up under it. I also used my poncho/tarp to add additional coverage on one side. Shortly thereafter the wind and rain picked up again and the thunder and lightening began. (Yeah, I know, doesn't sound much like winter...)
Unfortunately, I soon learned that I should have paid more attention to how well I'd set up my hammock. Once I settled into it when the rain hit hard again, it became clear that I'd hung it too low to the ground and my Jarbidge underquilt was touching the (very wet) ground when I was in the hammock. Not good, but I wasn't able to adjust the hammock suspension from under the tarp given how I'd set things up. And, I'd taken off all my wet clothes and was wearing my only dry clothes that I didn't want to get soaked because the temps were dropping.
My solution? In the short term, I put my rain coat on the ground between my underquilt and the ground, hoping to keep the UQ as clean and dry as possible. Later, when the rain slowed down, I re-rigged both the tarp and hammock.
After that, it was a pretty uneventful night. I stayed much warmer than I had anticipated (I'm a cold sleeper) with 38 degree temps and wind and wet. In fact, I left about half my intended nighttime insulation (winter jacket, extra pants and socks, sleeping pad) in my pack.
The hike out the next day was a bit of a disappointment with a trail reroute due to logging. But, overall a successful trip during which I learned a lot about my gear and set up -- and I can't wait to do it again. Just a few pictures below.
It was ... wet.
My attempt to use my poncho as tarp doors to keep out the wind-blown rain when the wind shifted.
Wide shot of camp.
Surviving the night.
And a scenery shot.