Here is the official report for the Northeast Hammock Hanging Assoc. Hang
On Friday morning March 22 around 11am six courageous and possibly foolhardy adventurers converged at the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail trail head on Stratton-Arlington Rd in Vermont to set off into the wild white beyond for the weekend, seeking fun, food and fellowship. The weekend was set to be a perfect winter wonderland; temperatures for the day were not to exceed thirty degrees and were to drop to upper teens at night. Around 11:30am the group finally completed as everyone had arrived, the band of brothers set off on their journey down a white packed road that was riddled with machine of ski and track, ruthlessly mushed by their evil masters, they shot contemptuous and vile looks at the excited group, as if questioning their right to be allowed on their holy frozen highway. After dodging machines for a mile the determined troop waved off and traded the roadway of noise and exhaust for the quiet pristine pathway of the wintery woods.
Headed into the quiet respite of the woods the adventurous trekkers have in front of them an unrelenting four miles of unbroken snowy dormant forest. If it were not for their snowshoe clad feet the white quicksand would swallow them to knee and thigh welcoming them to cold and death. As the group pushed on it seemed they had a new nemesis; Nature. As the miles slowly passed by nature and the forest seemed to get more determined to stop the march of the persistent brothers, with each step it felt the ground was reaching up to swallow them. As each foot relentless touched the white forest, floor cold sticky glue would attach itself to their feet like at trap enveloping its prey. With each mile the sky would drop more snow and the biting wind would howl even more angrily. Yet with each step the troop became more determined to reach its glorious destination.
As the day waned and as determined as they were, when they came to the trail intersection, they had a decision to make. Do they turn left and try to make it to their intended location of the blustery winter pond that still had almost more travel then light left or do they turn sheepishly to the right to where a trail shelter seemed to being singing in an warm angelic voice coming through the wintery veil just beyond their sight? Tired and beaten the group turned to the right to rest for the evening. Though as disappointed as they were for not making it to their true divinely inspired location, they were determined to make the best of the situation. One by one, yet working as a team they started preparing for the cold windy night ahead. Some gathered firewood while others eagerly hung their heavenly hammocks, dreaming and anticipating having their wary bodies cradled in suspended glory, while wrapped in downy goodness.
As the evening chores came to a conclusion, the shelter transformed into their evening home, becoming entranced by sounds of crackling fires, roaring stoves and delicious aromas of cooked BBQ spaghetti, beef stew and grilled steak and onions. The sounds of laughter and good conversions, while loud and hearty in the shelter the noise did not make it far into the evening night with the wintery winds stills howling. With the food consumed, the bellies, full the exhausted friends were not able to make it long before climbing into their lofty beds, dreaming of alcohol stoves, beer can pots and of course dutchware bling.
The morning found the relaxed and rested friends eager with excitement and determination to set off to complete their quest. Scarfing down cold pop tarts and hot coffee they hurriedly set to packing up their gear and making the last minute run to the cold privy. Hurriedly and undaunted they broke through the newly fallen snow with renewed vigor and anticipation of getting to their final destination. Going down a steep snowy embankment revealed to them the wondrous landscape of a windswept white encrusted pond ringed with leafless maples, birches and snow covered evergreens. No tracks where to be seen anywhere, though even in hours times theirs steps would disappear as the invisible eraser blew almost constantly. Finally after about an hour’s march, through knee deep snow, they found their wintery Garden of Eden. Lost inside the forest on the north shore of the pond was their home away from home. Once again this Band of Brothers set to task for setting up their hammocks and tarps, gathering firewood, eating and of course enjoying the conversations around the fire.
With the day waning, a faint call was heard on the wind. With a rush a anticipation two of the friends donned on their snow shoes and set off to see find two more of their expected brothers had finally arrived. Out on the pond two more of their brothers were excited and relieved to realize they had met up with the party that had set out in front of them a day earlier. The Band of six was now eight!
As the day wore on the gathered friends passed the time by eating rehydrated home cooked meals and talking about passed adventures around a crackling fire set at the base of the overturned roots of an old white birch tree lying on its side. Throughout the day, in preparation for the evening, they each in turn set out to find more dead wood to feed their ever hungry and growing fire. Day soon turned night and yet the conversations still could be heard around the fire and the continued roar of the cooking stoves as they prepared warm drink and food for the night. As the night wore on closer to midnight one by one the relaxed travelers head off to their oasis of downy warmth for another evening of suspended bliss.
As the quietness of the night gave way into the sounds of chirping of the morning, after a day and a half, the wind had finally settled down. Soon the anticipation and excitement of the morning before was replaced with the understanding and disappointment that another adventure was fast coming to an end. The excitement and hurry of yesterday was gone and switched with the slow and mechanical method of packing. This morning there would be no fire or hanging out. This brilliant chill morning only brought around sadness and quietness of the group. One by one they all started to get their gear together and ready to spend the next couple of hours hiking back the way that they came the last two days. It even felt that the quiet forest was saddened to see these valiant adventurers leave. Not evening the snowy ground this morning would slow them down because of the unrelenting pounding it took from the adventurers on their way in two days ago. Yet go home they did in an uneventfully quiet march back through the way came.
Till the next adventure.