Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goat Island 2011

The Goat Island hang was a HUGE success. The weekend before Memorial Day weekend was definitely the right time for this hang.

Addison and I decided to get an early start on this hang so we packed up some gear in the canoe and kayak and paddled out to the island Thursday night (mainly to scope out the island and pick out a good camping site). After taking an accidental swim, we finally make it over to the island and scope out some possible camping sites and get our hammock set up and start a fire so I can dry out. I finally get dried out about 10:45pm and we get some sleep.

Friday morning we were up at 6:30am and paddling away by 6:45am in order for me to be at work in time. After a days work, we were back on the island thanks to Swampfox providing shuttle service.

Friday evening started out as a meet-and-greet and reunion of sorts with people jockeying for the best camping sites and then it was time to start thinking about food. Dinner friday night was a fend-for-yourself type of thing (we dined fairly well on filet mignon :)). Saturday morning the kids woke up around 7:30am and were in the water and playing on the beach. The adults took a little longer to get motivated, but we soon got stirring and the sounds and smells of sausage and eggs frying on the cast-iron skillet filled the air. Saturday activities consisted of letting the kids swim and then Swampfox fired up the boat and we took turns being pulled on the tubes and skis.

The Saturday night meal was a beautiful thing. We all pitched-in ingredients and thanks to chef Muskrat we ate like KINGS on


Dessert (Blackberry Cobbler and Peach Upside-Down Cake) was the icing on the cake provided by Swampfox. The final count on attendees for this event was close to 20 (7 of which were children).

After dinner it was time to cool off in the lake until almost dark and then we all sat around the campfire while the kids chased and caught frogs. The kids didn't hit the hammocks until 10pm. They played hard all day and they slept hard all night.

Sunday morning was a sad day indeed. We started packing up and saying good bye to old and new friends alike.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this hang happen. If I have anything to do about it, the Goat Island Hang will definitely take place on an annual basis.

... as a mater-of-fact, I have already started planning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Parsons Mountain

In preparation for our Goat Island trip, I decided to take the girls camping to make sure they were indeed ready to "primitive" camp. Friday after work I loaded up the kids and the dog and headed out to Parson's Mountain campground. The good thing about this campground is the proximity to the house and the price ($7 per night) along with some nice hiking, horse, mountain bike, and ohv trails.

We got to the site early enough to set up and have plenty of daylight to let the kids play. A friend and his kids beat us out there and were already unpacking. Being a ground dweller, my friend and his kids occupied the tent pad in our camping site while I chose a spot a little further back from the road and any of the other camping sites.

The nighttime temps were in the mid 60's and very comfortable while daytime temps in the mid to upper 80's were tolerable with the shade and the breeze.

Activities for the weekend consisted of eating, canoeing, climbing trees, and sleeping.

Even though we forgot the syrup for the pancakes :) , it was a GREAT trip.

I can't believe we forgot the SYRUP!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mt. Mitchell, NC

This trip had been in the planning stages for a little over a year and the time was drawing near for us (me, my wife's uncle, wife's relative's husband, and his friend) to go. With less than 2 weeks to go, what do I do?

Magic Kingdom

I'm goin' to Disney World!

We got in the family cruiser and motored south for a little while.  It was a wonderful trip with the wife and kids but that's not what this report is about.

After returning from Disney, it was time to start packing, and finish making some of the gear I would need on the trip. At 3:30am on Friday morning I was finally done and not a moment too soon. Now all that was left to do was make it through another day at work and then we would be on our way.

The trip started off very smoothly.  We loaded all the gear into Ronnie's truck and started the 3 hour tour. It really was like a tour. Uncle Ronnie pointed out facts about the different places of interest on our way to and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Travelling along the parkway was like stepping back in time by two months. With the elevation change the temperature dropped a total of 30 degrees. The trees had yet to put on their foliage and the dogwood trees were in full bloom - beautiful. The 23 miles from I-26 and the Blue Ridge Parkway to the camping sites took just over one hour.

When we finally made it to the camping sites the outside temperature was 41 degrees Fahrenheit with winds topping out at 45 mph. Needless to say this made putting up the tarp a little tricky but luckily there was still some daylight left. Dinner that night was "Low Country Frogmore Beaufort Boil Stew". Yum, Yum! At 2:30am the wind was still roaring but the inside of the hammock was toasty warm. A brief trip out of the comfort of the hammock showed stars that were so thick it looked as though they were overlapping.

The wind continued until 3:00am Saturday morning but I never new it. Saturday was wonderful. The temperature topped out at 67 degrees and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Better yet, the wind didn't start back up until well after sunset. The activities for the day consisted of; breakfast, hike to the top of the mountain (from the parking area of course), nap, lunch, hang out around the campfire, dinner (cube steak and sweet potatoes cooked in cream of chicken in the dutch oven) and then blissful sleep.

...and finally, the video

Here is a list of the hammock gear used for the trip:

  • Kelty Noah's Tarp 12x12
  • DIY 1.1 oz Double Layer Hammock w/ adjustable ridgeline
  • Whoopie Slings
  • Tree huggers
  • Dutch Clips
  • "The Toaster" underquilt
  • modified mummy bag/top quilt