Laurel Fork, GWNF, Highland Co, VA
My son and I hiked in to Laurel Fork and camped overnight last Thur-Fri. It was our first bp trip and my first use of the hammock. Thursday had temps in the 60s and rain showers, but we were comfortable and enjoyed the hike along Locust Spring Run trail from the Locust Springs picnic area. It was Thursday, Oct 17, but the vault toilet at the picnic area was locked with a gubmint shutdown sign still on it. The trails in this area all mostly follow the blue lines and there aren't any huge vistas, but it's still beautiful. It looks more northern than in SNP, for instance. We noticed that just about every pool in the run had little brook trout. Some appeared to be large enough to keep but we didn't fish. The rain let up to let us pitch camp when we got to a camping area on Laurel Fork., but I feel like it would have been no problem for me with the Hennessey Hex in snakeskins and a CRL from whoopieslings.com. I had experimented with the hammock at home on a Risk-ish hammock stand I knocked together. That taught me I'd like easier adjustment, so I got the CRL and straps and whoopieslings for the hammock. And got a couple of Dutch buckles. The hammock went up easily. I was pretty beat, but thought I should eat something, so I heated water on an alcohol stove I built along the lines of the fancee feest type. It's definitely not as pretty as everyone else's I've seen on youtube, but it works. I cooked and ate sitting in the hammock through some more showers. When it got dark, we turned in. There was a last heavy rain and some wind in the evening before clearing to a bright full moon and dropping temps. It got down to 45 according to the little Coghlin thingie. I slept about 12 hours, waking every 3-4 hours and getting up once to answer the call, but always immediately falling right back to sleep. I was dry and comfortable all night. I had winter insulation - a Mt Washington 4 and a 15 deg Dri-Down bag and slept in shorts and t-shirt with a stocking cap on. The hammock was slightly foot-low, I guess. Whenever I woke up, I slid myself back up, but it was nothing major. In the morning, ate another freeze-dried meal. I hadn't tried any of these prior to this trip. I was not impressed with my Mtn House choices. They were pretty bland. I'm glad I had plenty of snack items. I ate just about everything I took before we had hiked out. I had thought I was taking too much. The son went back to sleep and I wandered around the area until he was ready to go. We hiked out along Buck Run. There was much more of a grade than I expected, but it was really nice with a variety of cover. The trails are blazed pretty well ( all the same color ). Many of the signs at junctions are broken, but the pieces are still there so they provide some information. Our hikes were only 3-4 miles but that felt like plenty for us. Our conditioning could use some work. Didn't see much wildlife, not even a rattlesnake. There were actually warning notices at the trailhead about rattlesnakes along Laurel Fork.
I am a little in awe that we pulled this off so comfortably. This forum, Shug's videos, and the Ultimate Hang book were my bible. I think the son will be getting his own hammock. He was impressed, although his 15 hours in his little tent overnight and most of the next morning meant he couldn't have been UNcomfortable. Thanks to all the posters here for sharing so much great info.
Me again. Those little pieces of hardware would be Dutch clips, not buckles. Doooohh. They worked great, whatever you call them.
glad you had a great trip
thanks for sharing
Kudos on a well-planned trip and a fine trail report. Photos gave a great feel for where you were, and the verbal description was just packed with information. Thanks!
thanks for the report.
my brother and i did LF this past memorial day, it was a beautiful walk in the woods, the open camping areas at Laurel Fork are the highlight. you were less than an hours drive from dolly sods where we had more fun, as the camping and hiking and water is much better.
did you get any good pictures you can upload from your trip?