Just Jeff's Hiking Page

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

- John Muir

Hot Springs Hangout and TrailFest
Southeast Hammock Hangers Association
Hot Springs, NC, 22-24 April 2005

The 10th Southeast Hammock Hangers Association Hangout was lots of fun. We all met at site 413 in the Hot Springs Campground, right on the bank of the French Broad River, to socialize, exchange gear ideas, and enjoy the...um...rainy weather. It rained Friday night, on and off all day Saturday and Saturday night, then SNOWED early Sunday morning. It was coming down pretty good when I left at 10am. According to weather.com, Friday night's low was 51° and Saturday night's low was only 37°, although Sunday's snow was starting to stick as you can see from the pictures.

On Friday night, we had Ed, Karen, Youngblood, Marta, Rosaleen, Seashell, Moonbeam, Seuss, and me. On Saturday, Rosaleen and Seashell left, and Coy and both Jacks from Jacks'R'Better showed up.

Special thanks to Ed and Karen for hosting everyone, and for providing the Hot Dog dinner and all the hot chocolate!

My hammock is in the foreground, Coy is on the left, and Ed & Karen's two-person setup is the yellow tarp on the right.

Ed and Karen used two overlapping 8x10 tarps to cover their setup. They usually use three trees, but they weren't sure how many people were going to show up so they used a hammock stand.
Here's a good shot of my JRB 8x8 tarp with tensioners. When I went to sleep Friday night, the tubing was fully stretched. In the morning, it was fully retracted...it had taken up about 3" of slack on each side during the night, and my tarp was still nice and taut in the morning.

I slept in my Green RN hammock this time, and used the webbing supports. Friday night, I used the Nest on the bottom, the No Sniveller inside, and pulled my hammock sock up to my head without the ridgeline. I wore shorts, a T-shirt, thin cotton socks and no hat, and I was warm enough to sleep but a fleece top would have been nice.

We were expecting Saturday to be a lot colder, so I had the Nest and No Sniveller on bottom and a 0 F Wiggys Super Light inside as a quilt. I added a ridgeline for the hammock sock, and I slept in my polyester thermal top, T-shirt, cotton thermal top, Convert liner, shorts, rain pants, and thin cotton socks. I started with my Blackhawk balaclava but quickly took that off since I was so warm.

At 4:30am it got windy, so I pulled the hammock sock over my head and sealed it with the drawstring. At 7:30am I opened it back up and it was snowing! After three hours of breathing into the sock I saw no visible condensation, and I think it added several degrees of warmth by keeping the wind away.

You can also see how the gear hammock sits beside me under the tarp. It was nice having everything within reach, off the ground, and out of the rain. I haven't decided yet if it's worth the weight for a longer hike, though.

Here's the hammock sock in the snow. It kept my stuff dry for a while after I took the tarp down, but I wouldn't sleep without the tarp in the weather.
Coy was happy because he'd just finished a new test hammock to sleep in and was all snug...until he heard a RRRIIIIPPP and it dumped him onto the ground! Actually, he kinda rolled out as it was ripping, so he didn't sustain any life-threatening injuries.

This is the setup he actually slept in...a homemade Speer version, and two sleeping bags with 6-7" holes cut out of foot pulled over it. I tested it out and it seems to work really well. He still wants to make a better baffle around the neck to keep warm air from seeping out.

Jacks R Better HH aftermarket products. On the left is the 4-Season Set, and you can see the set with the Weathershield on the right.

Both Jacks displaying their products in the snow! They're also working on the backpacks you see.

Marta had just finished making her Speer setup from the kit, and Moonbeam was using her HH Backpacker Ultralight A-Sym.

Marta stayed warm in the snow with this PeaPod Ed let her use. The PeaPod was so warm that she started taking pads out to see how much she could leave behind next time. I think she's hooked!

Moonbeam bought a Nest, Weathershield, Tarp and Python Skins. Must be nice to have the manufacturer there to set up your new stuff!

Moonbeam with a dusting of snow. She had a pad, windshield reflector and a bag inside with her.

Youngblood used a homemade Speer and was testing the new segmented pad extender that he and Ed Speer designed.

His tarp is a catenary, roughly 8x10.5, with shockcord tensioners on each guyline.


Seuss in the snow.
This is where Seuss slept. He had a mighty adventure this weekend! He was down at the river watching the full moon rise over a peak across the river, minding his own business, when out of nowhere a BEAR snarled from behind a tree. It was a big'n, though apparently he hadn't eaten in a while and was looking to Seuss for a small snack...or AS a small snack! The beast advanced menacingly, as if saying, "You can run but you'll only die tired."

Thinking quickly, Seuss knew he didn't want to endanger all of us by leading the bear back to camp. He bravely lopped off part of his thumb (with his Leatherman, I guess, or maybe an axe), threw it at the bear, and came strolling back into camp like nothing had ever happened.

The bear didn't chase Seuss back into camp, so either the thumb satisfied his hunger or he lost his appetite wondering why it tasted so funny. Karen helped him bandage up his thumb, and for the rest of the weekend he had fun tying his shoes with only one opposable thumb.

Way to take one for the team, Seuss!

Sunday morning's pancake breakfast at the community center. Lots of food for only $5!

From left: Seuss, me and Ed.

The snow started to stick late Sunday morning

Hammock Campers' Base Station

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