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  1. #11
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Glad you made it!
    To have to face that on your own would have been more than a challenge. Trying to keep track of your children and seeing them at risk as well must have been a nightmare.
    Hopefully your daughter will give backpacking another chance once enough time has past.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Oper8or's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisenber View Post
    Glad you made it!
    To have to face that on your own would have been more than a challenge. Trying to keep track of your children and seeing them at risk as well must have been a nightmare.
    Hopefully your daughter will give backpacking another chance once enough time has past.
    I hope she will too. I'm not sure though, shes not really the outdoor type. My son is and he is my go to hiking buddy. With everything that happened, my son slept in the car and my daughter slept in the 1 man tent. I slept in my hammock and loved it. I woke up sore but not from the hammock. I know that for a fact. It took some time to figure out my lay in it. It's still not perfect and I almost fell out of it. I'm going to work on it. I think I have way to much sag in it. I couldnt get the sides to stay up high enough. I've laid in it in my back yard and got it just right but the trees I strapped up to this time were closer together and I had the straps higher. It may have been a mixture of both. I dont know yet, I'll have to work on it. I think I might stay the night in the back yard tomorrow night. My wife wants to cook out at the fire pit so I think that might be a good chance to play around with it. Tell you what, if it werent for advice from everyone on here I wouldnt have a clue on how to hang right. I'd be wrapped up like a banana and miserable. I did take my sleeping bag and do it like Shug said some people do. I unzipped it almost all the way and used it as a type of top quilt. It worked great too. My sleeping bag makes me HOT though. If I get in it and zip up I sweat a lot in it, even in 30 degree weather. I found that out this past winter.I didnt even have to use an underquilt (dont have one anyway), although i would have used my therma-pad.
    I am me and no one else can be me without my permission.

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  3. #13
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    Gees, O! Glad you and your kids are okay. Sounds like Cades Cove had it even worse than Abrams Creek. At least three medical emergencies there. Another fellow was killed on a motorcycle. See story

    I hope your daughter realizes that you had the misfortune of experiencing an epic storm that is not likely to be repeated for many years.

    I also hope you invited your new friend Mike to join us here at HF. Thanks for the report and again, glad you're okay.
    "Pips"
    Mountains have a dreamy way
    Of folding up a noisy day
    In quiet covers, cool and gray.

    ---Leigh Buckner Hanes

    Surely, God could have made a better way to sleep.

    Surely, God never did.

  4. #14
    Skygzr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oper8or View Post
    I'm setting here still amazed. One because I've had a restored faith in people. Let me explain the trip. It was of course short because of what happened. I'm not going to go into all of the details, it is way to much right now. I'm still processing everything that happened. We are all sore, tired, and just flat out happy to be alive.

    We got 1/4 mile past site 1 on the abrams trail and my daughter got tired. Keep in mind this was her first (AND LAST) trip. My son talked me into flipping a coin. well we didnt have a coin so we used a small river rock that had a smooth side and a rough side. Smooth side was up so we went back to camp site 1 instead of continuing on to site 2 as planned. We set up camp and sat around for a while. My son got into his hammock and was sleeping when he felt what he called a tug on the bottom of the hammock. Nothing pulled on it and it wasnt rubbing on anything. Then all of a sudden "riiiiiiiiiiiiip". A big rip went from his left hip to his right hip. The hammock split right down the middle. It's the walmart hammock!! he's well within the weight limit so we dont understand that. Anyway, 1 hammock down with another still up and a single man tent...sigh. So he laid in my hammock and my daughter and I went hiked back down near the camp ground to swim at around 3:00PM. The water was warm and it felt good. We went back to camp at 4:40ish. We talked for a few minutes and decided to hike back out and go home to get a refund on his hammock.

    Now this is when the SHTF. About 10 minutes into the hike back we heard thunder. We thought okay, no big deal we have pack covers and ponchos. We got a little farther, maybe 100 FT, and this wind just hit. I've never seen anything like this up close and personal before. We hear some cracking and popping around us. A tree falls on the ridge to our left. Another on the ridge to the right. We start trucking it out of there. When the gusts hit I made the kids stop, put their heads on a swivel and watch the trees. My kids were brave. I'm VERY proud of my son. He kept as calm and collected as you can be in this. 6 more trees fall behind us then we hear the wind REALLY pick up. It sounded like a train coming accross the mountain. Another tree snapped down to our left near the river and smashes into the river. We can barely see or hear anything but wind, tree branches, and debris. We had tree limbs falling on us from every which way. Another gust came. Even bigger this time. A large tree on our right twisted and snapped falling right at us. We ran back up the trail going the opposite way it was falling. It hit the ground no farther than 15ft from us. The gust was still going. We watched the trees, waiting. When the gust let off a little we ran as fast as we could the rest of the way. When a gust would pick up, we would stop and watch. Hoping and praying another one wasnt coming at us.

    We made it to the camp ground. I put my daughter and my son up at the bathrooms. They already had a little girl in there doing the best they could with her. Another lady had multiple injuries. The roads were blocked, no way to the car. Two other men and I started clearing a path using his truck an axe and brute force to clear the road to the ranger station. We made it to the station to find out there were A LOT more trees down. I got my car and drove back and got the kids and took them to the station. Then we heard there were people trapped and in serious need of help. A group of campers and a hiker went back to help them. The other two men and I kept clearing trees. It was like the whole side of that ridge just dumped on the road. We made it pretty far up when we heard the chainsaws. The ranger and some emergency workers ran down the road to us. From that point on I was driving crew and equipment back and forth between the injured people who needed help and the ranger station.

    The biggest thing I have to say is I'm thankful. The police, EMT's, Resuce Squad, Rangers, AND the campers/hikers all worked together to get these people out and to the hospital. I'm sad to say, very sad, that one person in this didnt make it. I've never seen people work together like this. Someone told us something that I found odd. I didnt really think of it this way, but I suppose its true. They stated you are survivors, you did what you had to do to save lives. I'm brused and sore. My daughter and son are fine. I'm still a little shaken by the whole thing and I still havent caught up with reality yet. Everything happened so fast. I'm sorry people got hurt and even killed. That feels odd even saying that. But I'm just happy everyone else is safe.

    There is a whole other part of this story too. The added reason we left. The reason another family and another hiker were right behind us.

    Thank you guys. My daughter said she will never go back. My son,,,, well, he asked me about an hour ago "when do you wan to go again". I'm proud of them both but my son kept his cool and kept his sister safe and helped who he could when he could. This isnt going to keep me or my son from going.
    you are very lucky, 4 people died that day by being hit with trees. My friend is the trail and volunteer coordinator for GSMNP and she reports thousands of trees down on the trails in the park.
    glade you got out with everyone in one piece.
    "nature speaks in the silence between words"
    www.mustexplore.blogspot.com

  5. #15
    Senior Member Les Rust's Avatar
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    Glad to hear that you and yours are alright. There is something about an emergency that truly does bring out the best in people; thank you and the others for your efforts in that situation. Hope that your children grow and learn from this event. And yes, your wife must be a special person; give her our best from HF.

  6. #16
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Oper8or did a great job in describing what happened down there.
    Here is a pretty good video from KNS interviewing a couple that was also there visiting from Chicago.
    It truly sounded like a chaotic event with everyone doing their best to help others and cope with their own situation as well.

  7. #17
    Loki's Avatar
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    Glad that you and yours are OK.

    Thank you for sharing this; the good and the bad of it. People, is seems, really do have good in them - shame it can sometimes take a disaster to bring out the best (fortunately that is not needed for HF members).

    I saw that storm on the weather radar and it looked scary; very glad you are OK.
    - Loki,

    "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
    Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
    The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
    while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
    — John Muir

  8. #18
    Senior Member Oper8or's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pipsissewa View Post
    Gees, O! Glad you and your kids are okay. Sounds like Cades Cove had it even worse than Abrams Creek. At least three medical emergencies there. Another fellow was killed on a motorcycle. See story

    I hope your daughter realizes that you had the misfortune of experiencing an epic storm that is not likely to be repeated for many years.

    I also hope you invited your new friend Mike to join us here at HF. Thanks for the report and again, glad you're okay.
    Yes sir! I did invite him to pop in. He seems to be a really good guy and from watching his youtube page he loves snakes. I'm sure he will show up soon.
    I am me and no one else can be me without my permission.

    My Youtube page.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Oper8or's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for being kind and caring. I'm trying to contact the family members who were injured. My family knows them and they dont live far from my parents. I just want to personally get in touch with them to see if there is anything else I can do for them. I mean I cant do anything for those who are in the hospital but maybe I can help their family at home.
    I am me and no one else can be me without my permission.

    My Youtube page.

  10. #20
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    Glad you are all OK. Your guardian angel was definitely working overtime!

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