Arrived Thursday afternoon, checked in, drove to the site...noticed perhaps not really three hammock hang spots as I'd been told - walked over to site 413 and lollygagged a bit with Hangin' Burrito, Running Feather, LazyBee, met JohnOBX and a few others too.
Walked back to my site, The 409 Site, appropriately named- cause it was "clean" of any great hammock hangin spots - yikes! Thinking, "Where are Doodad and L.D. Cakes going to put their hammocks? Encroached on a couple trees bordering site #411 and hung my hammock there.
Note to self: When at Hot Springs campground rent sites 411 or 407 for lots of hammock hang spots -but not site 409.
Next, deployed the hammock, sleep system, tarp.
Wow! car camping is nice -had all the amenities with me, and nothing to carry more than 20 yards. Set up a gravity fed fresh water supply, then headed back to the group site.
Thursday evening's entertainment was watching Hangin'Burrito and his sizzlin' Dutch Oven - yum... Chicken alrfredo! And, HB managed to turn out a delicious meal -- despite being guided with tips from everyone else there - all at once. Much joyful lollygagging followed a delicious dinner.
Hot Springs campground is a beautiful one and we were right beside the river - gotta love waterfront property in a hammock! Stars in the clear skies, mid-50s sleepng weather, and the white noise of rapids in the distance. All that and a full tummy made sleeping delightful. Except, what was that brief, quiet scratching under my hammock?
Friday morning - The coffee was ready at the group camp site - nice seeing a pot full of coffee percolating on the tripod over the fire. HB declares we are going to have a Mountain-Man Dutch-oven Breakfast and WOW- he wasn't kidding! HB, that is the very best breakfast I've had on the trail - and better than most restaurants too!. Who needs PopTarts and oatmeal while HB's carrying a dutch oven?
After breakfast and coffee, I took the laptop up to the Spa and used their wireless to let Sluggie and Lump know why i had to encroach on their site's boundaries. Next, I headed over to the outfitters in town to round-out the prizes for the kids drawing (that was the original plan anyway...Really!). Nice folks there- seeing products, in stock on the shelves, that are not in most other outfitter stores is wonderful! - err... until time to check-out anyway ;-)
I was still wondering where everyone was going to hang since site 409 had not so many good trees. Fortunately, Lump arrived later Friday - carrying a "medieval-style" two-hammock stand - Yea Lump! You saved the day! Now there are enough hammock hang spots for all! Say Lump, "How much you want for a set of those medieval hammock stand connectors?"
The weather Friday aftrnoon was a treat! I managed to avoid any real exercise and just enjoy the perfect weather, meet my new HF friends and complete some extensive lollygagging around the campsite. JohnObX demo-ed a campfire device that has already been added to my "IWOOT" gear wishlist ("I-Want-One-Of-Those"). A few of us did manage to take a walk into town for dinner at the Smokey Mountain Diner. And of course stop at the outfitters again to soothe some lingering "gearitis".
- Err... wait, didn't Lump and Sluggie save the day for me at John Rock Hang too (they knew the trail to the hang spot). Getting a pattern here - Thanks Lump, Thanks Sluggie!
I'll let Doodad explain the missing hammock story that Detail Man brought to us during our "dinner at the Diner" - it all worked out fine eventually.
Friday night, as more hangers arrived, the campsite's "circle-of-chairs" grew larger and larger, and so did the good fellowship. I enjoyed talking with folks I met during the John Rock hang and getting to know the folks i just met here for the first time. Ya'll are great! Thank you Hammock Forums.
Friday night was interesting -after i crawled into the hammock there was an interesting tapping on my bottom. For now, I'll call it Cat-Bat-Syndrome, or maybe one of you will come up with a better name. This is what you feel when the local campgrounds kitty playfully swats at your bottom while you're swaying in your hammock - took a minute to figure out that one it did. -- Sheesh!
Saturday was busy for all. I want to say a special thanks to RockDawg69 for producing a delicious breakfast to start the day for all of us. And to Hb's tripod campfire coffee too. Paddlers paddled, hikers hiked, and even more HF folks showed up. I mostly obsessed about getting the prize drawing details "right" and managed to do more lollygagging too. Snocmpr arrived and all us gear heads were slack-jawed watching him demo an antique stove (did you say like ones used by Sir Edmund Hillary's expedition?). Snocampr brought some other collectables too. It's a rare and wonderful thing, being surrounded by others as interested in gear... OH! and, everything tastes better with some Smokin' Joe's Hotsauce on it - Thanks Resqsarge03!
I hope everyone enjoyed the prize drawing - especially the kids! Our Hammock Forums Vendors are a really wonderful group of folks - their donated prizes created a lot of happy faces and generated lots'o conversations too. Congratulations winners! And, Thank you hammock forum vendors!
Our Saturday night group dinner was delicious! I was about to eat all of LazyBee's chili and Fishbone's Beans too (Perhaps I was subconsciously trying to head off another round of Cat-Bat-Syndrome?).
Fishbone's Mandolin playing just "fit" the scene and "potted meat" was a frequent topic around the campfire!
Special mention has to go out to SpamBurgular for reciting the longest "Karl" sliloquoy I've ever heard since watching the movie. You've got competition Shug!
Later that night i was mumbling,"...go away you silly cat!"
RockDawk69 and his elves produced another fantastick breakfast Sunday morning. And, I want to especially thank Snocampr, for brewing some of the freshest, most tasty coffee I've ever had (using that 1934 stove and hand grinding coffee beans - which were Roasted by Snocampr himself). Detail Man's fresh, local Honey topped off the coffee wonderfully.
Most folks packed up early. I managed to depart as late as possible- a bit sad not having a group campfire to look forward to Sunday evening.
On the trip home, I mounted an expedition to Diamond Brand Outfitters and Frugal Backpacker too! I also stopped at Crowder's mountain for a Hot chocolate and a pastry in the Piney Woods...mmm...
- The second group hang is even better than the first!
- Every new hanger you meet will either have some neat gear to chat about; show you an interesting suspension tip; or add something interesting to the conversations 'round the campfire.
- It's better when someone knows how many hammocks can actually hang on the site you rented.
- Always hang with Sluggie and Lump ;-)
- I really do not need to actually pack Everything into the car - just because we are car camping. Really! I won't use it all, so it's OK for me to leave some gear at home next time...
- Hammock forums vendors are the best!
Meeting Hammock Forums vendors at a group hang is great! Thanks JohnOBX, thanks Dale, thanks www.tttrailgear.com !!
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the next group hang - Soon.
Let me know if i got your name incorrect or an event out of order - send a PM and i'll correct it.