2018 Backpacking/Camping Season
2018-03-28 Today it is again in the upper 40s, headed to the 50s! So I decided to play with my hammock stands and hammock. The last time I messed with all that was back on July 11, 2017. The next morning we awoke to an areal flood caused by about eleven inches of rain between midnight and six am. We and many others were inundated and it took us until November to get back into our significantly rebuilt house. But those hammock stands were leaning against the back wall of the garage crying out for attention!
The main thing that I needed for the stands was a new ridgepole. So yesterday I picked up two 10-1/2 foot sections of 1-3/8 inch chain link top rail. This morning I cut four feet off one of those and created a 14' 3" top rail. With that suspended from the stands with eye bolts, I hung my ENO Doublenest hammock, ENO Pro Rain Fly and my Yukon Outfitters Kindle underquilt to the rig. All seems to work well on the stands. So all I need to do now is give it an overnight test.
Today's setup was in my garage which is cluttered with way too many things including some RC planes. Hope to get out this year and fly those too! Too many toys, not enough time!
All this is in preparation for a possible short backpacking/overnight trip with my son and his two kids to the Southern Kettle Moraine Unit as soon as school is out. At least that is my excuse!
Obviously I don't intend to take the hammock stands on a backpacking trip. But my thought is to cut the 10-1/2 foot section of the ridgepole so I have three pieces of approximately the same length which will fit in a car along with collapsed stands which could be taken in a car to a campground. That would allow sleeping in a hammock in a campground without good trees. The stands also let me set up in the back yard which doesn't have good trees for hanging. But honestly, it's all just fun to play with! (Click here to see more details on the stand.)
2018-03-15 First non-neighborhood walk/hike of the year. Over the past few weeks I have been walking around our neighborhood, sometimes with a 20lb backpack and sometimes not. The weather has not always been ideal but I wanted to get out anyway and for the most part it has been enjoyable. The average walk was about 2 miles with a couple of three and a number of less than two.
But today, the temperature was in the upper 40s, the sun was shining brightly and we haven't had significant precipitation for several weeks. So I decided to grab my backpack and go to the SENO K/RLT Conservancy, a small forest area nearby to see what conditions are like. I only walked a mile and a half around the perimeter trail but it was fun to be in the woods.
The trails are in the wooded area of the property with small hills and valleys and a fairly significant creek running nearby. For a first trip into the woods for 2018 it was refreshing. Trail conditions were overall very good. In some shaded areas the ground was still frozen with a 1/2 inch layer of thawed and slick muck on the surface but otherwise they were great.
2018-02-21 Well, after looking into details and experiencing a completely unexpected bout with vertigo over the past few days, I've decided that the mega-trip is probably not the best idea for me. I need to identify several shorter, less strenuous backpacking trips to do over the next few months rather than one like that. What, where, when, with whom? We'll see. John said he will work with me on that. Our youngest grandson has also begun to express interest in backpacking. So I want to find some trips not too far away that we can do some together and "get his feet wet" so to speak. We'll see.
2018-02-15 After the flood experience which consumed nearly all of the second half of 2017 I'm looking forward to doing some hiking, camping and backpacking this coming year. So far that has really only been a hope as winter here in southeastern Wisconsin has been pretty persistent with nearly a foot and a half of snow and temperatures hovering around zero for many nights in a row. But for the past couple days and the next few days we are experiencing temps in the 40s in the daytime and above freezing at night. The snow is melting and even some sunshine now and then. That gives one hope!
2018-01-15 The big news is that my son, John is proposing another fairly significant backpacking trip in August. He is hoping for Glacier National Park again but is going to apply for a permit for the Teton Crest Trail from north to south just in case. His dream is to put together what he's calling a mega-trip, getting all family members who have hiked with him previously together on one trip. I'm excited and yesterday donned a 20 lb backpack and began training for it! That was just three miles in our neighborhood as the trails in our area are still snow covered and sloppy and I'm not ready for that yet. But its a start! Stay tuned.