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  1. #1
    Senior Member oldsoldier's Avatar
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    My first hang this year!!!

    Well, every year I vow to get out more & do more hiking/camping. And every year, things happen. My other passion, bagpiping, takes up a LOT of my time. But, this weekend, I am getting out for at least one night!! This will be my first night with my hammock since it was modded by TQ. I am hiking in a local area called Bearsden Forest, alone. Hoping to get out tomorrow night, and return Sunday. We are expecting showers this weekend (no big deal, I like sleeping in the rain anyway), so this will be a gear shakedown of sorts as well (have some new stuff I want to try). I am hoping to get some pics, we shall see though. I will be posting again here when I return, well, just so I have a record of my trip .

  2. #2
    pegleg56's Avatar
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    Good luck, and enjoy.
    I'm so out of shape ......I passed gas yesterday and pulled a muscle!

  3. #3
    HappyCamper's Avatar
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    Have a great trip and post here on your return!
    I intend to live forever, or die trying. -- Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

  4. #4
    Senior Member oldsoldier's Avatar
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    Ok, am back, and here to report my trip! MY intent was to go out 2 nights, but we had a severe weather warning Friday night, so I opted to leave saturday morning instead. Which actually worked out better in the long run.
    I spent the weekend in the Bearsden Town Forest in Athol, MA. The area was farmland years ago, then had an immigrant camp that helped construct both the railroad in the area, and the local reservoir (the reservoir is no longer in use). Most of the area was land donated to the town by various families, with the reservoir being added to the whole conservation area in about 2000. There are 20 miles of trails within the 2x3 mile area, an is bordered to the north & west by Millers river, which has been used as a waterway both by the local indians, and later by mill traffic. Many of the trails in the area are old indian footpaths, and, once it was settled by Europeans, there were many stone walls built in the area. Most of these are still standing, and there are still cellar holes that can be seen from the first settlers of the area.
    The trails are combinations of old cart roads, old footpaths, and some newer trails that were cut to accomodate hikers. There are several natural areas of interest in this forest, from three small hilltops, two with great views, to the Millers river, to the old railroad bed, with a trestle no longer in use, to the reservoir no longer in use by the town, and the associated mud huts used by the immigrant workers. There is even a pair of stone walls, in the middle of nowhere, called the "sunday walls". Legend has it two brothers were bored one sunday (massachusetts forbade ANY work on sundays), and decided to hold a contest, to see who could build the longest stone wall in a day. They snuck off into the field (the whole area was originally clearcut, then burned, to allow for grazing-a common practice in New England), and each started a wall, 5 feet from one another, headed in opposite directions. They both stand, to this day, literally in the middle of the woods.
    Ok, on to the trip report! I had the following items in my Sabre 45 ruck:
    change of clothes
    fleece jacket
    wool hat
    synthetic blanket (dont really need a sleeping bag this time of year
    lightweight long underwear.
    HH exped hammock with underpad
    GSI soloist cookset with alky stove (trangia)
    MSR miniworks water filter
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    The day started off nice. Was a good walk through the woods. It had been raining for the past 2 weeks, so there was some mud. I got to my first checkpoint, which is called Sheep Rock. I stopped & made breakfast. It is a great view, and, last time I was there, about 15 years ago, it had a gorgeous view of Millers River. Since that time though, the trees have grown in, blocking the view below. Regardless, there is still nice views across the valley.
    From there, I hiked downhill to a small pond called Duck Pond. I stopped there for lunch & to refill on water. Instead of eating, I napped (unintentionally). After about a 20 minute snooze, I drank, ate a granola bar, and went on my merry way.
    The map of the area is a hand drawn map, not a topo. So, I couldnt really be sure of terrain, other than what I could see. The map showed that the trail I wanted to take ended about 3/4 of mile from the other trail I wanted to pick up. I had a choice: I could go back the way I came, up & over 2 hills, or I could bushwhack, following the river, and use landmarks to guess where to turn. I chose the latter. The bushwhacking went fine; I hit my handrail (a small stream), followed it south, to a bridge, then crossed it, and hooked up with the trail I was looking for. All of my handrails & landmarks were prominent features, so I really didnt even use a compass-just the map, and some guesswork. I did follow a couple of game trails, which made it a little easier, until they went deep into the laurel, or veered from my general direction of travel.
    Once on the other main trail, it was only a matter of about an hour's hike to the abandoned reservoir. That was my planned area to stay at overnight.
    Once there, selecting a site was easy, I stayed next to the outlet stream from the reservoir. I sent up camp, and relaxed for a bit. About an hour later, I made dinner. Shortly after that, the skies opened up. A LOT. It began thundering, and was pouring rain. No big deal-I stretched out in the hammock & read. It continued raining till about 11 or so, then was on & off all night.
    I did wake up several times during the night, got out & stretched. I am a side sleeper, so sometimes I have a hard time sleeping on my back. Anyway, I was comfortable, and dry. Was a nice night overall.
    Oh, one odd thing happened. A little after 1 AM, I was woken up by some creature that moved underneath me. When I am in the hamock, there is maybe only a foot or so to the ground from my low point. I was woken up by something moving from foot to head (just brushed my backside). I figure it was likely a racoon, or maybe a skunk. But, wasnt really worth checking out, so, when I felt it move on, I went back to sleep. Whatever it was, apparently took shelter from the rain briefly under my backside!
    This morning, got up, packed up, and hiked out through heavy mist. All in all, I probably hiked about 10 miles in a rough loop, zig zagging here & there. It was a great weekend to get out, even with the rain!.
    I will post pics shortly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member oldsoldier's Avatar
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    This is the view from Sheep Rock:


    This is a part of the trail called Deep Cut-its pretty self explanatory, and VERY muddy:


    Millers River with part of the old train trestle:


    The reservoir where I stayed:


    My hammock:


    Complete with tarp:

  6. #6
    Sweeper's Avatar
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    Nice report! We lived in the Methuen, MA area for about three years before returning to the South. I do remember that it could get surprisingly hot in that part of the world during the summer. I never did any hiking while we were up there, though. Were the 'skeeters bad after all that rain?

  7. #7
    Senior Member plowhorse's Avatar
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    great report. love the views
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane. - Waylon Jennings

  8. #8
    Senior Member oldsoldier's Avatar
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    The skeeters were about as expected. They werent as bad as they have been in past years, but it certainly wasnt bug free either. I wear a long sleeve & long pants while hiking, so they really only bit my hands. The night was cool enough to keep them at bay though. I picked a slightly breezy spot to set up camp in an attempt to keep them off, but the rain helped moreso than the wind!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Great report and some really nice views. I always like to know the history of where I'm hiking, but I never take the time to read about it. So I like seeing stuff like that in others' trip reports! Good stuff.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Perkolady's Avatar
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    Nice trip report, oldsoldier! That sure looks like a nice area!

    I'm glad you had a good time. It's soooo nice to be snug in your hammock , reading while it's raining out there!

    Perkolady

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