Just Jeff's Hiking Page

"Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose
we came from the woods originally."

- John Muir

Apple Tree Camp, Los Padres National Forest
26-27 May 06

Quick overnighter with my younger son to Apple Tree Camp up the ridgeline from Bottcher's Gap. Not as cool as Little Sur Camp - the trail was overgrown with Poison Oak so I had to carry him a few times and it's a dry camp - but it was still a pretty good trip. He had a field trip not long ago where they showed them some Sticky Monkey - kinda like honeysuckle - so of course we had to stop at almost every one for him to eat some.

I tried to set us up on the leeward side of the ridge, but he didn't like that site so we ended up on the windward side - and it was pretty windy. And the park keeper estimated a low of 60 F...except it was 38 F. No big deal - we were prepared. I set up the hammocks side-by-side without the tarp so we could check out the stars...so many, so bright.

On the drive down, we stopped by a gas station to get some sandwiches for dinner. We packed them up and hiked a little way in, then ate next to a little stream. Hrm...must have gotten a bad sandwich because I laid in my hammock, stomach gurgling and naseous, in a haze - barely conscious enough to know that I wasn't asleep. And somehow in that semi-slumber, I had a dream about an Italian guy sitting in a rocking chair giving me the secrets of life. Only he was speaking Italian...I could pick up a few words here and there, but somehow if I had been able to understand him I felt like I'd have all the answers. But no luck.

I woke up sometime after midnight and could only see a few patches of stars...the clouds were rolling in. So I set up the MacCat over us, then set up the JRB on the windward side as a big windblock. (I brought them both in case we had to hang separately.) About an hour later, the rain started. Just a light peaceful rain...started to lull me right back to sleep when he started complaining about his back hurting. He's outgrown the kids hammock, so he crawled into mine. Listening to the wind through the trees, the rain pattering on the tarp, and my little boy breathing on my chest- this is what itís about. I finally got back to sleep around 3am.

Broke camp quickly in the morning so we could get moving - it was pretty chilly with the damp wind. We hiked a little further in, but my son was in a pretty bad mood...he was cold and grumpy. Duh - he always gets grumpy when he's hungry. So we pulled off the trail for some oatmeal. Warm breakfast made a huge difference for him and we were putting the trail behind us in no time. A little more hiking, then we turned around and went home. All in all, a great time in the woods.


  • OR Nimbus Sombero: Worked good, kept heat in, stuffed it in the pack and it sprung back. Kinda rubbed the backpack in the back, though Ė I wonder how that will work when itís raining hard.
  • DownHammock: The first time I used it, it had a single layer of DWR for the hammock and a single undercover layer holding the down, but the hammock layer stretched too much and flattened the down under my butt to about an inch. So I added another hammock layer to keep it from stretching. Now the undercover layer is too big and hangs down a bit more, so the down isnít right against the hammock. I got a little chill because of that, but it wasn't too bad. Something to keep in mind for future prototypes, though - weight of the occupant affects hammock stretch, which affects how much effective loft is present.
  • Kids Hammock: He's outgrown his kids hammock. He woke up moaning several times, saying his back hurt. He finally got in my hammock...have to make him a new one.
  • 2 oz stove setup: Oatmeal Saturday morning. Flames licked up around the edges again, but it worked ok. Not happy with the stability of the pot stand on the aluminum foil. A stiffer ground cover might help.
  • Black Diamond Contour Hiking Poles: Good for moving poison oak out of the way. Not really convinced yet that I like hiking with poles, but theyíre convenient.
  • DropStoppers: Nice, light, comfortable, breathable. Ripped the leg on a stump on this first trip. Awesome weight savings and I'm pretty happy with the $16 I spent on them. Don't imagine I'll be using the Clarity much anymore.

  • The trip begins...

    Kinda windy at the parking lot

    Nice view here

    One of the few wide areas on the trail

    Dinner time

    Where we had dinner

    Good Morning!

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