After an unusually warm day in Maryland for mid-February the weatherman predicted lows in the mid 40s for the evening. So it seemed like the perfect night to test drive the hammock I had purchased last fall but never used.
The full moon provided plenty of light for me to hang up the tree straps I had sewn together the week before. In no time I was swaying under the trees listening to the geese calling to each other and thinking what a great night this would be.
I popped back into the house to see if my son wanted to join me and was pleasantly surprised when he signed off the video game and grabbed his ENO double and his sleeping bag. I was a little worried about how the lower temps would affect me, so I grabbed my sleeping bag and pad as well.
I have read many posts on HH about top quilts, but it wasnít until I tried to squirm into that mummy sleeping bag that I got the full picture. Likewise when my self-inflating sleeping pad blew up like a balloon and tried to escape the hammock leaving me dangerously close to CBS, did I fully understand the threads expressing joy and contentment with underquilts, peapods, and double layers.
After a few minor adjustments the pad was situated, the sleeping bag was unzipped into a makeshift TQ, and I was reasonably satisfied that I had mastered the diagonal lay. Soon I was in peaceful slumber. It didnít last long though as I started to develop a nagging cramp under my shoulder blade.
No minor adjustment this time. As I crawled out of my hammock to adjust the tree straps and factory suspension I longed for the whoopee slings and ridgeline that I had yet to complete. Back in the hammock the pain continued and no amount of shifting of body weight or position would help. Could it be that my hammock hanging days were over before they had really even begun?
There was no way that I was going back in the house and admit to my wife that my hours of reading posts on this forum and my recent expenditures were all for nothing. I decided that I would try sleeping with my head where my feet had been. But that proved only to be a minor improvement. Finally I discovered a way to sleep on my side and the pain eventually dissipated and sleep returned.
While my first night with the hammock wasnít all I had hoped, it wasnít nearly as bad as sleeping on the ground. I was never cold by any measure and was actually too hot during the first part of the evening. I think the cause of my cramp was that the trees I choose were too close (only ten feet apart) and caused the hammock to sag too much. To be sure there are lots of improvements I can make to suspension and I plan to make my hammock into a double layer to increase my options. Still I am looking forward to the next night under the stars on Bacon Ridge.