My son and I had our first hammock camp out this past Friday night. We had a great time. First we hiked about 5 miles into the Uwharrie Forest looking for a campsite. Along the way we passed a blackberry patch and took a few minutes to enjoy a few hand fulls of berries. As it is a forest that was not a problem finding a suitable site. The site we ended up picking was off the trail a few hundred feet and would not be noticed by anyone passing by. We got my son's Claytor hammock set up in short order and then proceeded to set my Speer up. Here we ran into a slight problem in that I selected two trees that were too far apart and a little too small because when I sat in it the hammock would sag to the ground. After relocating the hammock we proceeded to heat up some water for hot dogs and ramen noodles using a coffee can wood stove that worked like a champ. Since it burns wood sticks we got the smoke and fire of a wood fire without building a regular fire. We munched down the hot dogs and used the water for the noodles. Once the noodles were done we then used our hammocks as lounge chairs. Here is where I got my first dump to the ground so I guess I am good now for the rest of my hammocking experience. Once I re-tightened a knot I was good to go.
We both had a good night's sleep, better than sleeping on the ground for sure!! In the middle of the night I heard a night prowler and moved my foot against the nylon fabric and I heard it scurry away. It probably could still smell the hot dog scent from my pack which was right under me.
We got up in the morning and made breakfast and proceeded to take town our hammocks. The Claytor comes with individual stuff sacks one for the tarp and one for the hammock. The Speer came with one silnylon bag for both. I had a spare silnylon bag so I used it for the tarp. Before we left I used a soldering iron and melted holes in the bottom of each bag so they now all function like BB bags. Worked like a champ!! Breaking camp was a piece of cake, just unlash and stuff! My son made an unsolicited comment regarding LNT camping. He said "dad look you can't even tell we were here!! The hammocks made no marks on the ground." He is in Boy Scouts and aware of LNT camping.
On the hike back to the van we saw a large tortoise, a good sized toad, and one of the biggest millipedes I have ever seen on or along the trail. There was an inch worm hanging in trees as there always is, but we think the toad was waiting for it for a late breakfast. As were taking a picture of the toad a flying ant landed on the inch worm and bit it!!
Over all we had a very enjoyable experience and we are both looking forward to our next camp out. I dropped my son off at the Scout headquarters for his 1 week summer camp yesterday so it will be at least a week before we go again. In the mean time I have put descending rings on both of our hammocks and tested them out in the back yard. Wow talk about simplicity in setting up, I can't wait to use these in the field next. I had already used figure 9's on the tarp, so now we should be able to set up in mere minutes.
The hike, hammock camping, cooking, berries, wildlife all added up to what I hope will be a very memorable experience for my son. I know I will remember it.
I have posted some pictures in the gallery.