In 2018, after eight years of intermittent tent camping, I stopped being a ‘ground dweller’ and moved up to hammock camping. The advantages are increased comfort and the flexibility of camping site choices. The disadvantages are the time it takes setting up and breaking down camp. But it is worth it.

Sunshine at last

Sunshine at last — Drying out my gear was my excuse for not rushing to get on the trail. The frost on my tarp needed a chance to melt and dry. I lollygagged around and didn’t start packing up camp until eleven-forty. Taking it easy, I didn’t leave camp until twelve-thirty.

Camped at Fiddler Spring, Irish Wilderness

Camped at Fiddler Spring, Irish Wilderness. +1

Day Two, the view from my hammock

Day Two, the view from my hammock — When I decided to stop at Fiddler Spring, I forgot to check its orientation to the rising sun. It was a long chilly wait until the sun climbed high enough to reach the campsite. It was also “Surprise! Suprise!” a lot colder than forecast. At seven-thirty it was twenty-four degrees. Two-minute read, +1

Hammock sunset

Hammock sunset — Camped above ‘Deep Hollow’ January 2024.

Camped on the side of ‘Twin Falls Hollow’

Camped on the side of ‘Twin Falls Hollow’ The start of Day Two of my trip.

My quilt got a little frosty

My quilt got a little frosty, though according to my notes it was only 30°F. +1

Frosty Morning in Paddy Creek Wilderness

Frosty Morning in Paddy Creek Wilderness — The temperature dropped to 19°F (-7°C) overnight. The predicted low was 28°F. Once again I was glad I changed my mind and packed my bigger and heavier 10°F quilts. +3

Hammock Camping in Paddy Creek Wilderness

Hammock Camping in Paddy Creek Wilderness — As it is going to be a short day in terms of mileage, I don’t have to rush to get on the trail. I took the time to light up my Firebox Nano stove for my morning coffee, breakfast, and a follow-up cuppa tea.

Morning view from my hammock

Morning view from my hammock — Day Two, Camped in Paddy Creek Wilderness.

Ooh, it fits!

Ooh, it fits! Camped in Paddy Creek Wilderness, at a spot I’ve nicknamed Paddy Creek Trolltunga. Backpacking the Big Piney Trail, December 2023.

Camped near Table Rock Lake at Piney Creek Wilderness

Camped near Table Rock Lake at Piney Creek Wilderness. The forecast was for two to three days of rain, so I carried in a second tarp to have a dry area to sit and prepare meals. It sprinkled once for about half an hour. +1

Camped at sunset

Camped at sunset.

Camped at the end of Day Two

Camped at the end of Day Two — And I’m facing east, ready for the morning sun.

Day Two — Camped off of the North Loop of the Big Piney Trail

Day Two — Camped off of the North Loop of the Big Piney Trail. +1

Camped at ‘Cab Creek’

Camped at ‘Cab Creek’ — Finally, the sun is high enough to start warming things up. I went and sat in the sun on the other side of ‘Cab Creek’ and enjoyed the morning. +3

Day Three – tea in bed at ‘Cab Creek’.

Day Three – tea in bed at ‘Cab Creek’. Note the sun just rising above the edge of the hollow.

Packing away

Packing away — It rained quite a lot last night and the drips were still falling from the trees, so I kept the tarp up while I packed everything away.

Lollygagging

Lollygagging — it was quite cold early in the morning, I was glad I bought my big puffy jacket and some base layer pants to wear.

Once again camped at ‘Deep Hollow’

Once again camped at ‘Deep Hollow’ and it is summer tarp and bug net time. +1

Day Two — Starts with a lazy morning

Day Two — Starts with a lazy morning — and a morning cuppa! Two-minute read, +1

I’m in no rush …

I’m in no rush … I don’t need to be home until this evening, and it’ll only take around two hours to hike back to the trailhead. I might as well relax for a while.

Camped overlooking McGarr Spring

Camped overlooking McGarr Spring — It’s embarrassing to admit how long it took me to find the two trees I used when I camped here back in December. So I’ll just say It was far too long.

Day Three: It got a little chilly overnight

Frosty Morning — My coldest night out on the trail. Last night at 15°F, and ironically, I was too hot! There was even ice inside my hammock. +2

Morning in the woods

Morning in the woods — The temps dropped quickly last night. It was below freezing by 9 p.m. and dropped to 28F.

Unusual, but it worked

Unusual, but it worked — I wanted a tarp configuration that would keep the wind off me, but still let me stand up. +1