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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    North Beach MD

    Hanging since 1953

    I was born in 1939, and grew up in a small town near Ft Stewart, Georgia.
    During WW2 lots of folks lived with us. After the war there was a lot of stuff
    that was left as folks went back to their own lives. One on the things that was left was a WW2 Jungle Hammock. At abut 10 years old in 1949, I would
    string it between to oak trees in the side yard. I had a little fire pit and would
    build a fire and roast potatoes. I would snuggle into the hammock, zipped up
    and fall to sleep, when my grandmother would yell, and make me come inside.

    I did this summer and winter. Also, left was an army sleeping bag made with
    wool blankets not down. When it got cold, this thing worked great in the hammock. (It did not get below freezing a lot, but it did get a ver damp cold)

    In 1952 or 1953, with and old surplus plywood back, and a JC Higgens 410 shot gun I was allowed to spend the night in the woods (swamps). But I was not allowed to go further than they could hear the shotgun. (Three quick shots)

    I had several spots I would go, and tried many things with the hammock.
    First the place was full of bugs and snakes. the hammock was the answer.

    I would cut very long slender poles and string them through the top like normal, but tie the to the ground on the side away from the fire. They would
    stick up in the air facing the fire. I had an old poncho that I would tie to the poles that extended the top way out towards the fire as a reflector.

    I always dug a pretty deep fire pit, with a small trench going away from the hammock. I would start a fire as soon as I got there, getting coals going.

    I don't know why, but I always roasted potatoes, mostly in dirt, over coals
    pulled into the small trench. I tried many combinations of stuff, and finally settled on scooping out the patatoe and mixing it with a can of deviled ham!

    When I got ready to turn in, I would cover the fire with a mound of spanish moss and it would smoke like hell. No bugs. In the morning it was pretty much still going.

    My breakfast was four strips of bacon, fried in a surplus mess kit. Did not
    pour off the grease, and two eggs dropped right on top. That's where my heart problems started! The smoked bacon would not spoil, and the eggs were wrapped in toilet paper.

    While camping, I spent a lot of time looking for limbs or trees to cut for
    walking sticks, and cypress knees that poke up out of the swamp that I cut, then boiled to get the skin off that made great lamp bases, or just wood
    art. Sold a lot of them to "yankees" on US 17 on their way to Florida. I also
    loved to get a rattle snake because the rattles, were hot sellers. (Thanks to
    the 410)

    Joined the Navy in 1962, and ended up in Washington DC in 1966. Started hiking the AT, using my surplus back pack, hammock, mess gear, collins machette, wool sleeping bag, new svea stove, only to discover that there were no mountains in the swamps of georgia, but there sure were in Virginia.
    They hammock was 6 or so pounds, and the whole thing was a man killer when put together.

    Thinking that the back pack was the problem I went whole hog and got
    a "Mountain Master" external frame deal. After loading it all up, it still
    weighed the same and still was a man killed.

    Started to working on getting the pounds off, and by this time had a hiking partner, and we would do a week at a time on the AT, and that forced the issues. But we both agreed that we would not give up carrying considerable
    "snake bite medicine". Other non-essentials HAD to go.

    In Sonny's Surplus in DC, I found surplus white canvas Navy hammocks, probably from before WW2. We first rigged them under ponchos. Then
    we discovered tube tents. We would string the hammock through the tube
    tent with its own line. The tube tent was pushed all the way to the foot, with
    a line that went up to the head where the hammock was tied. We only
    pulled the tube tent over us if it started to rain, and we could do that by
    pulling on the line without getting out of the hammock. In cold weather
    we had a canvas covered foam pad that went into the hammock, tied every foot
    by ties that his wife put on the hammock and the pad.

    We always refused to take any food that we could not find in any store along the AT.

    Breakfast was oat meal, real brown sugar, and hot tea with honey.

    Lunch was sardines, an onion, and saltine crackers.

    Dinner was Uncle Ben' Spanish Rice and tuna combined, with extra onion and
    tabasco. It next night plain rice and corn beef. Next night plain rice and Hormel chili with no beans, etc. Always rice. We carried enough to live just on it. I remember we got strung out in Penn during an ice storm and had rice and honey for several meals.

    In the hammock looking at the stars was alway Johnnie Walker Black and spring water. We solved many of the worlds problems, looking at the stars,
    consulting Johnnie, and knowing if it rained all we did was pull a line and listen
    to the rain on the plastic tube.

    Sadly, my good hiking buddy of 30 years in now hiking an easier trail.

    I haven't been out since then.

    I still have my original hammock, the moutain master, the colllins, etc. When
    I pull them out you can still smell the smoke, and I think of my buddy "Mo"

    I am now turing 70, and in 55 years or so of campimg I never slept on the ground.

    Hang in There.

    Tired Iron

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Denver, CO
    Warbonnet ON!
    SuperFly or MacCat
    Yetis & Mambas
    Webbing and rings
    Amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing and welcome aboard.
    Trust nobody!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Charlottesville, VA
    MacCat Standard
    Winter Yeti, MWUQ4
    Whoopie Slings
    Awesome story, tirediron...welcome to the forum.

    Just think - hammock socks back in the 60s. And here I thought Risk thunk that one up...
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site:
    - Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB


  4. #4
    Darby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Elizabeth City, North Carolina
    Switchback 1.9DL
    10x12 TTTG CatCut
    TTTG Ring Buckle
    Welcome to the forum. Have you considered a "hang-out" with a bunch of hanging fools? I would love to sit by a fire and hear some of those stories.
    Beer won't solve problems, but then again, neither will milk !
    Designer of the Switchback Hammock
    Tree to Tree Trail Gear:

  5. #5
    Senior Member gunn parker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Perth, Western Australia
    Cat cut tarp
    Warbonnet Yeti
    Woopie slings
    Thanks for the wonderful story, I hope you have many more and the time to share
    Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
    Winnie the Pooh

    My Photo Album
    My youtube videos

    Proud member since May 2007

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Spring, TX
    WB Ridgerunner
    WB Superfly
    That's quite an intro. Thanks for sharing and welcome aboard, sailor!
    Thanks for your service.

  7. #7
    MacEntyre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Jamestown, NC
    Molly Mac Gear
    When I was in kindergarten, through second grade, we lived on the edge of Paines Prairie, outside of Gainseville, Florida. It was a swamp full of rattlesnakes, coral snakes and bugs... a kid's dream land! Where you grew up sounds similar, tirediron. I'd love to hear more.

    What do you think of the new hammocks?
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin

  8. #8
    Senior Member eflat7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Pinebluff, NC
    Eno Doublenest
    OES Standard
    Amsteel w\MSH
    You must be a writer! I was absolutely hypnotized by that post. It read like a book I couldn't put down. Thanks for that.

    I think all Hammockers, and outdoor lovers in general are bonded by the type of feelings and memories described by tirediron. It's those things you can't explain to someone who hasn't ever awoken to a cool morning with gentle raindrops falling on their tarp, in a warm hammock; just as warm and comfortable as your bed at home. How many mornings have you awoken in your hammock to the smell of the forest as the first light starts to turn the sky that bluish red... and just laid there and felt completely at ease, with a perfectly clear head... almost a high of sorts.

    I have, lots of times. That is what it's all about for me. I almost got the same feeling reading this post by tirediron.

    Thanks for taking me out of my office for a bit. I really enjoyed that.

    Looking forward to the next morning in my hammock.
    Last edited by eflat7; 01-29-2009 at 12:10. Reason: misspelling

  9. #9
    neo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    DD modular jungle hammock
    wilderness logics
    wilderness logics
    whoopie sling

    Thumbs up

    wow great story.dude you rockneo
    the matrix has you

  10. #10
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Dual Layer WB Blackbird
    OES Cuben
    Way to make an entrance, Awesome story. Thanks for sharing and welcome to Hammock Forums.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett

    Premium Quality, Fresh Roasted Coffee

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