Week 35

Weather: Temps 60-70 degrees, humid, drizzling rain

Gear: ENO Singlenest hammock, Tarp prototype, snugpak sleeping bag

Comments: It was hot and muggy last night.  The temps started at about 60 degrees, and crept up towards the 70 throughout the night. It also drizzled for a few hours after about 11:00. Luckily, I had no more critter issues like I did last week, aside from a cicada that was buzzing away somewhere off to my left. I hoping for winter weather to get here soon- I've said it before and I'll say it again- summer weather is just kinda blah.

Realizing I haven't talked to much about my tarp, I can fill you in on that now. Basically I was looking for the simplest way to put up a tarp, because as easy as hammocks are to set up, tarps can be a pain. My solution? Elastic ridgelines. Because i use whoopie slings, I have to use toggles. So I took advantage of them. Instead of tieing a ridgeline to a tree, It is a loop of shock cord at both ends of the tarp. That way, i just stretch it out and put it over the toggles, just like I wold with my whoopie slings. The elastic allows it to stay at least mostly taught when i get in the hammock, as the weight pulls the toggles closer together, but the cords cancel it out because they were stretched to begin with. Then, all I have to do is tie the corners to stakes, and its set up. The only downside would be setting up in the rain- because its almost impossible to set up unless the hammock is already strung between the toggles. Next week i can post some pictures, and maybe it will be more clear what is happening.


Week 34

Weather: Temps 70-75 degrees, wind calm 5-10 mph, small shower early in the night

Gear: ENO Hammock, tarp prototype, Snugpak Travelpak Extreme sleeping bag

Comments: I had to pull the plug a little early last night due to some semi-aggressive wildlife, but we'll get to that in a bit.

It started out as a beautiful night last night. The winds were calm, the temps warm, and there was a little rain at about 10:30. It was kind of the vice versa of last week- this week I put up a tarp, but didn't expect it to rain, while last week I set it up, fully expecting it to rain even though it didn't. So anyway, it paid off last night.

After spending this past week at cross country practice, it felt really good to sit in the hammock and relax my muscles. I was asleep almost as soon as i laid down.

I was however, awaken twice during the night. Once was during the rain. The second time I couldn't quite figure out why I was up. It was about 12:30, and I knew something was really wrong, but I couldn't register what it was. About five seconds after waking up, I realized that something was growling at me. And I don't mean like a little grr, I mean it was a loud, deep, defensive 'I don't like you here' type of grr. I immediately sat up and looked around, fully expecting to see a big dog or something. I couldn't see much though because I was under the tarp- and then I looked down. There, in the corner of my tarp, was a raccoon the size of a small dog, close enough that I could have stuck a finger in its mouth. I yelled at it, and scared it away. Only it didn't run away, instead treed itself. After about ten minutes of searching for it, I (and my dad who I had woken up and given quite a scare- his son was outside, in the city, in the dark, and screaming) Went back to bed, only to hear it coming back down the tree again. We found it, scared it off, waited, and heard it yet again. We finally decided it was a good idea for me  to go in, because this thing wasn't scared of us, and a raccoon that size could ruin someones night pretty quickly.


Week 33

Weather: Temps 60 degrees, winds 1-5 mph, no rain

Gear: Eno Hammock, Snugpak sleeping bag, tarp

Comments: Week 33... and yet another beautiful night. I was really hoping to watch the Perseid Meteor shower, but it was really cloudy and with a good chance of rain, I was forced to put up a tarp. The tarp was of no use as it turned out it didn't actually rain, but it wouldn't of mattered any way because the sky was overcast through the night.

The temperature stayed a constant 60 degrees with a very light wind, which made for a wonderful night of sleep. However, I think I'll only have maybe a month of this nice weather left before we started getting towards the winter season- and a Minnesota winter season at that. Hopefully winter will make things a little more interesting, because as nice as nice weather is, it gets quite boring after a while. So I hope winter will be a better test of my gear and challenge me a little bit more.

Anyway, I decided to time how fast I could set up, because I've gotten pretty good at it. Turns out that just the hammock takes 1 minute 13 seconds, and adding the tarp brought me to a total of 6:43.


Week 32

Weather: Temps 55-60 degrees, Wind 20-30 mph, No precipitation

Gear: ENO Hammock, Snugpak sleeping bag

Comments: Last night was crazy. The forecast showed no chances of rain, so I went tarpless. When I went to bed, it was a beautiful, clear night. The crickets were louder than ever, the wind was very calm, and theair was cool. I fell asleep almost instantly. It would not stay like this though.

I woke up around 11:00 as the wind went from 2 mph to 20 mph. Its definatley not the most comforting thing to see the tree you are (and have been for 31 weeks) sleeping from whip its branches around and shake its trunk like some giant was trying to uproot it.  The clear night quickly turned into an overcast night as I watched the huge cloud roll in from the west. It was actually quite interesting to watch under the nearly full moon as the cloud covered me, quickly advancing towards the east. It had basically turned into a full blown storm without the rain, thunder or lightning.

After about 12:15, the winds died down and the cloud had moved on. The fun was over, and conditions returned to like what it was when I first got out.