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  1. #1
    Doctari's Avatar
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    Glad / wish I had a hammock or wish I had a tent stories.

    Last night at work I got to thinking / remembering that I have never camped where I couldn’t have hung, even all those miserable years on the ground. OK, the unimportant reason for this train of thought was that for the 2nd time this year I had to sleep in a bed.
    Anyway that got me to wondering about the times we were so glad or wished that we had a hammock / tarp set up or even may have wished that we (I know: “blasphemy”) had a tent. So, what is your story?

    I’ll start, in no particular order:
    On my 2nd to last night last trip, I made it to the Chatfield shelter. Honestly, I could not have taken another step down the trail & still had energy to set up camp & eat. However, there were NO tent sites at the shelter. I set up my hammock behind the shelter, fixed & ate dinner at the picnic table (making another convert even as tired as I was), & went to bed totally happy I had made the switch!
    Way back in 1997, my 2nd night ever on the AT, at the old Gooch Gap shelter, I was D O N E! AT the shelter, there was (again?) NO tent sites or room in the shelter. I did not care, & set my tarp on the access trail, as in: right dead center of the NOBO access trail from the shelter as it was the only flat(ish) spot within walking distance. In hindsight, if I had a hammock, there would have been No issue.
    2007: went hiking with my work partner & his nephew at RRG. We were on a ridge with minimal flat spots for tents. Matt & the nephew had tents, so we had to look. Kept passing Great hammock sites. I finally came to one that I could not pass up, they went on. The next AM, I hiked about ½ mile I found them, sleeping on the side of a hill, it was just about the best site for them in about 5 miles of trail. 15 year old Adam came out of his tent like he was 50 something, I almost felt sorry for 35 year old Matt,,,,, almost Lets just say that at 53, I was more mobile than he was, by far. And, yet again, I was so happy that I had made the choice in shelter I had.
    I am sort of sorry that I can think of no time that I wished I had a tent over the hammock. Oh, sometimes I wonder if I could / would set up a tent at some bald or similar area. But then usually a short time later, I find a better site, and can set up my hammock & sleep in comfort.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  2. #2
    WrongTurn's Avatar
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    Mount Rogers Trail. Right pass Elk Gardens on the AT, I went into hypothermia. About 430 October 30th. Was getting dark couldn't make it to the shelter. Lungs were giving me all kinds of problems. Hiking partner had to set up my tent and then I managed to crawl into my bag and boil some water. Everything was fine until I woke to find my bag full of water. The condensation from my breathing had flooded the floor of my tent and the water was freezing in my bag. Temp had dropped to 7 degrees. Blood Hemaglobin saturation was down to 75%, I carry a portable pulse ox monitor at elevation. I ended up ditching the bag and just curled up on my thermarest at the head of my tent. I got frostbite on my toes and ended up with phneumonia which later attacked my heart and put my in the hospital with a severe infection. At that moment when I stopped feeling my toes I swore off hiking and camping forever. Luckily a few days later when I was getting ready to list all of my stuff on WB for sale, I saw a thread by Hooch about hammocks. If I had had a hammock that night I would have been perfectly fine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrongTurn View Post
    If I had had a hammock that night I would have been perfectly fine.
    Man, I wish you'd had a hammock too!

  4. #4
    stormcrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrongTurn View Post
    Mount Rogers Trail. Right pass Elk Gardens on the AT, I went into hypothermia. About 430 October 30th. Was getting dark couldn't make it to the shelter. Lungs were giving me all kinds of problems. Hiking partner had to set up my tent and then I managed to crawl into my bag and boil some water. Everything was fine until I woke to find my bag full of water. The condensation from my breathing had flooded the floor of my tent and the water was freezing in my bag. Temp had dropped to 7 degrees. Blood Hemaglobin saturation was down to 75%, I carry a portable pulse ox monitor at elevation. I ended up ditching the bag and just curled up on my thermarest at the head of my tent. I got frostbite on my toes and ended up with phneumonia which later attacked my heart and put my in the hospital with a severe infection. At that moment when I stopped feeling my toes I swore off hiking and camping forever. Luckily a few days later when I was getting ready to list all of my stuff on WB for sale, I saw a thread by Hooch about hammocks. If I had had a hammock that night I would have been perfectly fine.
    GOOD NIGHT! Well, no, not really, but Holy sucky situation batman! So was all that water in your tent from just condensation or did you spill you water that you were boiling (it almost read that way). I am glad you gave it another try with Hammocks! Did you wake your buddy up to see if he had some extra insulation or something for you freezing toes?

    Sorry for the questions. Im not trying to make you relive that terrible night...

    Adam

  5. #5
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    In February of 1971, my brother and I hiked into the GSNP from Bryson City. We had to ford two icy, fast, deep streams by disrobing, wading across almost waist deep, and dressing on the other side. We never warmed up properly after the second stream. We pitched our tent on a fairly level site, and had a hot meal, turned in. Woke up in a deep freeze, covered in snow and ice. Our boots were frozen solid. My brother was sick as a dog; he just wanted to lie there in the cold sleeping bag. I had to break camp by chopping ice, then pack everything up, and coax bro into hiking out of there. We made it ok, and he recovered, but what a different trip it would have been in toasty hammocks!
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
    www.MollyMacGear.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member fin's Avatar
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    1996 BWCA trip - 3 weeks before my wedding. Entered the Boundary Waters at Round Lake entry point on our way in to Little Saganaga at around 7:00 AM. During the first uphill portage, it started drizzling off and on. Temps around 40*. We made the first couple of grueling portages into Tuscarora by 11:00 AM (we were stopped by the Rangers and delayed during a hard drizzle) with no rain gear deployed, as the drizzle was off and on and was actually a little refreshing as we hauled our packs and canoes through the woods. The canoes were each 70+ pounds, and there were no packs below the 50 lb mark. We were sweating our a**es off, getting soaked through with the drizzle, and making poor time, or at least much slower than we had planned for.

    About half way through Crooked Lake, the drizzle turned to rain. Our rain gear was packed in our bags, and it was too dicey to try to dig it out while paddling, so we waited until we reached the landing at the end of Crooked. The lead canoe took us on a wrong turn through this winding lake, and we ended up wasting even more time.

    Now drenched to the skin and exhausted, we made our way through the last two small lakes on our way to our destination - Little Saganaga. As we stood at the approach to Little Saganaga, and stared at the narrow rocky trail past the waterfall and down the hill to the lake, the rain turned to snow. And not just any snow - large, wet drops coming down so fast and heavy our visibility immediately dropped to first 100, then 20 yards when the wind picked up and kicked the lake to a lathering chop. As we paddled across this large lake full of islands and bays, we would occasionally lose site of our partners in the other canoes, and it truly felt like you were the only ones in the world in that space at that time - enveloped in a white void with no sound but the howling wind and the slap of your paddles in the water as you stroked as hard as you could to catch the boats in front of you that would slip in, and then out of sight. I had never been to this lake before, and neither had the partner in the front of my canoe. We had no idea of where we were heading, just trying to keep another boat in site and follow until they stopped. I don't mind telling you that as I shivered from the biting wind, drenched to the bone, lost in the middle of the lake with no other canoes in site and the waves bouncing harder off the hull by the minute, I knew there was a good chance that somebody in our group could die this day. But we kept pulling at the water against the wind in the general direction that we saw the last glimpse of our companions.

    They were navigating as much by feel as we were, and by chance slowed to try to catch a glimpse of shoreline to figure out where they were. We just caught a glimmer of them off our starboard bow, and tacked hard to a point in front of them, catching them just as we found the campsite we were heading towards. It was getting dark as we landed our canoes and threw our gear on the shelf rock that comprised most of the head of the island. I had a net hammock, a sleeping bag, and a blue poly tarp as my hanging gear at the time. As I unpacked, I knew I would not survive the night in this gear. Every one in the group was suffering from hypothermia as the temps dipped into the 20's, and our bodies were shaking uncontrollably as we dumped our gear on the ground and searched for our dry sleeping gear and dry clothes before the light faded. My brother-in-law had a small Eureka tent, and his wet, smelly dog Sophie with him, but I leaped at his offer of shelter with him and the dog on the ground. Truthfully, the combination of 2 guys and a dog in a 2 man tent probably saved our lives that night. I don't know what the other 4 guys did for shelter or sleep that night, I just know we were a sorry, soggy mess the next day. And since I was the only one who packed a spare set of boots, I was the only one with truly dry feet the next day in the 6 inches of snow we received overnight, and spent the morning gathering firewood while the rest slept. The others had all brought tennis shoes as camp footwear, and spent the next 3 days trying to alternately dry their boots and their tennis shoes around the fire.

    This is the one, and only time I can say I was glad to be in a tent. Blasphemy, I know - but I could have died of hypothermia in my net hammock that night. I think it also made me look forward to my upcoming wedding, as nothing could be as scary as that paddle across Little Saganaga in a blinding snowstorm.

  7. #7
    Doctari's Avatar
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    Wow Finn! Great story, in a scary sort of way!
    Hypothermia SUCKS! Take it from someone who has had it twice, you guys are lucky to be alive!
    Please note, my stories are different, but the same: I got caught in the "I gotta make it to where I Planned come hell or high water" mind set, as it seems Finn & friends did. AND, I suspect they did the same, once I needed to change my destination to where I was, I could no longer think for myself & stayed with the pre-programed plan.

    Thanks for the story!
    Sorry for the preachin bout Hypothermia. My last time scared me.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  8. #8
    Senior Member photomankc's Avatar
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    Blair Creek Section of the Ozark Trail trail in SE Missouri. It's nothing special but this was my first hike of any significant distance. I was supposed to meet up with a friend driving down from St. Louis. We wanted to reach a point of interest so I mapped out a point about 6.5 miles in for camp. Well. I was using a surplus army ALICE pack and hauling a load that would have made a donkey blush full of stainless cookware and propane stoves. By mile 6 I was ready to be airlifted out. I had to keep walking though as behind me was thorn infested creek brush and I was currently on a 600ft climb up a steep hill. Finally I could go no further and the best I could do was set my tent up on the least sloped ground I could find. I didn't even eat that night I was so exhausted. There were rocks and roots all over the ground and I just did the best I could trying to clear them. It was a terrible place to try to rest. I would get side cramps trying to find a position where I didn't slide down and getting out was comical.

    My friend never showed up. Turns out he didn't get there till near sunset, tried to get in too my site but was forced in the dark to setup on a gravel bar in the creek. He was not having any luck finding the trail past there in the dark forest. I did my best to sleep that night while slowly sinking into the rear of the tent every 45 mins or so. The coyote calls that night were the only bright spot... I always enjoy hearing that yipping mess they make.

    The next morning my back hurt so bad I was afraid I might have to ditch my whole pack. I actually ran across my friends tent about 3 miles back which he had abandoned and headed for home when he thought he might have passed me in the night and backtracked. I lost a ton of time searching for him thinking something may have happened to him. I was down there calling for him for over an hour. Finally I thought I saw some tracks leading back to the trail so I figured he had maybe bailed or gone back to the fire ring I saw earlier on my way in.

    By the time I got to my car I was cramping in my sides from that miserable $%^#@!$* ALICE pack and even sitting in the car driving home was a painful task, god help me when I tried to stand up from it.

    Had I had a hammock I could have set up camp before I had pushed myself to exhaustion trying to find level ground. There was a beautiful view about a mile back. Would have been a wonderful site for today's Clark. The spider content of that place was just amazing. I went in the fall and I finally simply gave up trying to keep them off my face. Every 10 steps and you were walking into another web. It was not my finest trip.

    These days I can do 10 miles or so and not feel as bad as that day going 6.5 miles. Of course it helps when you are not dragging 65 to 70lbs with you, that and ALICE is a mean woman.

  9. #9
    stormcrow's Avatar
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    Those are some tough stories

    Quote Originally Posted by FishinFinn View Post
    and there were no packs below the 50 lb mark.
    Really? You with a heavy pack?

    DUDE! That would have sucked. Didnt you all keep calling out for each other in the blinding snow? I have only had hypothermia once also (cycling trip gone bad...) I do NOT recommend it!


    photomankc
    , you are not still using that ALICE pack these days are you? How much does one of them weigh dry?

  10. #10
    Senior Member photomankc's Avatar
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    photomankc
    , you are not still using that ALICE pack these days are you? How much does one of them weigh dry?
    No, It's not that the dry weight is that outlandish, mine I think came in somewhere around 6.5lbs, it's the way the weight is carried. You have to hunch over because it throws your CG so far to the rear. The kidney pads are not really that comfortable and the shoulder straps suck too. No, that bag is now relagated to an emergency 'throw it in the car and go' bag. I actually have a Cabela's XPG pack that I really like. It's not a featherweight either but it is way more comfortable to carry. That and I have my loaded weight down around 40-45lbs with SLR camera and lenses helps too.

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