This past weekend I went down to Zaleski to do a little hiking, to get outside, and most importantly to spend my first overnighter in a hammock. I have backpacked before but only tent camped so I was hoping for a good time.

I left Columbus about 9:45am Saturday morning and got to the trailhead around 11:30. My pack weighed a total of 26.6 pounds- carrying 5 liters of water certainly didn't help, but I wasn't sure where I would be able to filter and I wasn't about to run out of water on the trail.

It was a gorgeous day, just cool enough for hiking yet bright and sunny. I think it was around 50* for most of the hike, and it got up in the 60's at the hottest. Anyway I hiked 1.8 miles in to campsite C where I spotted two hammocks hanging. I had been checking the local hangs and knew a few forum members were going to be out, but I didn't think I would end up running into them. Well I did!

It was Treeslayer and USMCStang who had camped Friday night at sight H. It was about 1 at this point so I introduce myself, talked to them for a little bit and asked about their setups. This was also the first time ever meeting forum members so I stayed pretty quiet, did a lot of listening. They were both nice enough to let me set up camp and drop most of my gear there for the afternoon. Since it was only 1PM I still had a lot of hiking I wanted to get in. With a newly lightened pack ( still probably 12 pounds) I continued on to hike about another 6 miles, did a little loop that brough me back to camp around 5pm.

I was tired and sore, and really relieved to see USMCStang and Treeslayer had already gathered and split wood and started a nice fire. We sat around and talked, told stories, discussed gear and just hung out. Luke from Lukes Ultralight stopped by later on Saturday with his girl, and they were really nice. Luke also has the BIGGEST cuben fiber tarp ive ever seen. Its called the "Winter Palace" and it was large enough to put both his and his girls hammocks under, with the sides still tied down low! Saturday night was supposed to be a perfect night to view the Northern Lights so we kept an eye out but didn't see anything. What we did see however was a night sky LIT up by hundreds of beautiful stars.

It dropped temperature really quick, and with the wind picking up it was a perfect night for sitting around the fire. A few hours of looking up at the stars and I was ready for bed. I think it was around 10:30 when I headed to the hammock.

My sleep setup isn't ideal yet, I haven't purchased an underquilt so I was a little nervous about staying warm on a pad ( thermarest basecamp). I do have the Jacks R Better Sniveller topquilt and I was dressed warm enough. Well getting to sleep wasn't a problem, I got positioned on the pad, with the topquilt tucked all around me and I was warm and toasty. I woke up 3 times to answer natures call, and each time I felt colder than the time before. Woke up 2 or 3 more times just from cold spots where my shoulders, arms, or legs had slipped off the pad or the topquilt was no longer fully tucked. I know this could be prevented with a SPE but I think I'm going to just cave and get an underquilt.

We woke up around 8:30 Sunday and I made some tea, broke camp and hiked back out to the trailhead. All in all it was a wonderful weekend hike where I learned a lot, and got to meet some forum members! Hope I didn't bore you all with my ramblings and no pictures!