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  1. #1
    Senior Member easttex's Avatar
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    First ever, hiking and hang.

    Last October I caught the camping fever. I've always loved camping and the outdoors but haven't been in years. So I decided I was going on a trip.
    I searched online for a few days trying to find a good trail I could hike in on and camp. Mind you, I've never hiked a day in my life- always car camped or something of the sort, so I had no clue what I was looking for or doing. lol. I came across Ratcliff Recreation Area and the 4C Hiking Trail in Ratcliff, TX. ( I'm from the Houston area) I decided this was the perfect place!
    I planned a 2 day, 1 night trip- Hike in on Saturday, spend the night and hike out Sunday.
    So, I bought a $40, 3500 cubic in. pack from the Wal-Mart and started loading that sucker down. I didn't own a tent so I decided I was going to use a hammock. I went to Gander Mountain and bought an, ENO Single Nest Hammock, that came with the tree straps, and got a regular ol' blue tarp from the Wal-Mart. This was my rig.. Hammock and tarp.. That is all..
    Keep in mind this was my first ever hiking and hanging trip. I loaded down the pack and weighed it the night before... 42lbs.. Yes, 42LBS. For a over night trip. This was without the water I was going to have to pack in due to the drought here in TX.. Being 24 yrs old and slightly arrogant, I thought, "eh, it'll be alright". lol
    I headed out on Saturday morning at 5ish. ( it's about an 2hr drive to Ratcliff from the NE side of Houston, where I'm from.) After stopping to pick up water from the Wal-Mart, I made it to Ratcliff about 730ish. Much to my surprise, Ratcliff Recreation Area was closed due to tornado damage sometime before. I was pretty much completely bummed because this was where trail head was and the park was completely blocked off.
    Determined to hike this trail I drove up the road where the trail crossed and park on the side of the road. Hoping my Jeep wouldnt get towed, I left a note stating I was on the trail and dated it.
    So, I headed down the trail. About 2 hrs in, I realized my 42lbs pack may have been just a little too heavy. I ended filling up a Water bladder in the pack, ( I think about 1 liter of water) 2 full water bottles and carried a 1 gallon jug in my hand. ( Knowing the creeks would be dried up due to the drought and there not being any drinkable water Without some sort of fandangled fancy filter, I was overly prepared. Lol) I hiked all day thinking the camp would be just around next bend. Exhausted at about 4pm I finally caught a small shelter out of the corner of my eye up on a small hill. It was the Walnut Creek camp site, about the halfway mark on the trail. (I think about 10miles)
    I was completely spent, everything hurting, especially my back, from the ridiculous pack. lol. I thoight to myself, what was I thinking?! I felt like a total wimp- Couldn't handle a short 10 mile hike with a janky pack. lol
    After I sat a spell snacking on some crackers and beef jerky, I set up camp.. My hammock.. That was about it. I slapped up the tarp, sat back on a log and relaxed.
    So, the sun set and it was just splendid. In the woods just chillin in a hammock! What could be better?! Until, it start to get that chill in the air. I didn't think to check the weather before leaving because it was just beautiful during the day. But it was cold! Probably low 40's or colder and I was in a hammock with nothing but two small throw blankets I packed in. Talk about a miserable night! Oh, did I mention the drought and burn ban?? Yeah, no fire to keep warm. I froze!
    Long story short, I was awake listening to the screeching owls and coyotes all night, freezing. I packed up and hit the trail out as soon as i caught light of dawn just so I could get warmed up!
    It was the most fun I've had outdoors and can't wait to do it again, but I will be prepared this time with a lighter pack and an underquilt!!

    Here are a couple pics-

  2. #2
    dragon360's Avatar
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    That there is someone who takes the pain for what he loves! Great to see that you stuck it out. My favourite part is the 1 gallon jug you carried - awesome first hang!
    The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. - St. Augustine

    Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
    - Bob Marley

  3. #3
    mountain_man_mike's Avatar
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    Nothing compares to earning a degree from the school of hard knocks and you got a good lesson. I applaud your tenacity and remember that you just went through what should be your most difficult challenge, so things will get better. If you haven't already done so, I'd like to recommend you popping some corn and setting aside a few hours for your in home Shug marathon. His videos are informative and as entertaining as you'll find. There are a bunch of others to recommend, but starting with the Shug is always a good idea. Best of luck to you from central California.
    Happy Trails to one and all.
    Enjoy the outdoors wisely and elevate your perspective.

    Modified Penny Wood Stove instructional Video-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fPlHqsYy38


    Hammock Wheel https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...09#post1035609


    Another Really cool JC Penny Puffer instructional- https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...141#post953141

  4. #4
    Senior Member easttex's Avatar
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    pics-








  5. #5
    Senior Member easttex's Avatar
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    I didn't drink even half of what was in the pack bladder. I ended up dumping out all the water except what was left in the bladder, to hike out.

  6. #6
    Senior Member easttex's Avatar
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    I have since found and watched ALL of Shugs videos, several times. I eagerly await new ones, constantly checking for his updates.

  7. #7
    Kodiak1's Avatar
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    Congrats for your first hike hope you will have many more, its all a great learning experience.Keep at it! When I first started I also realized my pack was to heavy when I would put my gear away I would ask myself these questions.
    1. Did I use it
    2. Would I have used it if the weather had gotten worse
    3. Could I have found the same gear that would make my pack lighter
    Well at least you started with a Hammock it took me a lot of years to figure that out.

  8. #8

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    Red face First ever

    That was a quick, long term, lesson. What a trooper ! Congratulations.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ernesthemmingway's Avatar
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    That was a great report. I think its good when people arent afraid to talk about their mistakes. I remember on my first hike I carried a gallon of water that I didnt use either, and I never made it to my campsite. I definitely feel for you on freezing all night. I bet that was miserable. Thanks for posting and welcome back
    with two m's, like "hammock."

  10. #10
    Bruciehi5's Avatar
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    I think, after reading your trip report, most Hammock Forum Members who have done a bit of walking in their time, would have had flashbacks to their first walk. I sure did! I made EVERY mistake you could make and suffered for it with nasty blistered feet, super sore legs, major painful shoulders, severe hunger, the runs, chronic exhaustion and other things too horrible to remember. lol But, having said that, I had a good time and have been hiking on and off ever since.

    Thanks for your report, easttex, it was a really good read!

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