Part 1 – pre-hike madness and why you should just use the multitool (ya lazy bum)
Arrived at Kat’s house just before dark on Friday. Plan was to set up all three hammocks and sleep outside. That’ll give us a dry run on figuring out what it’ll take to get those two boys to sleep comfortably and warmly in a double-hammock. Kat’s place is out in the boonies up on a mountainside and what we didn’t know was that some crazy apocalyptic windstorm was going to be blowing up that hill. But I get ahead of myself. After darkfall, we’re still trying to work out how to get the boys’ hammock storm-proof. We already wrapped Kat’s up in a heavy car-camper tarp in a style we call chalupa, but needed a bit more open area so that we can check on the boys and fix ‘em when they needed fixing.
Ended up stretching a silnylon tarp over paracord and staking it down. Wrapped Bear Bait and Monkey in my 0-degree mummy. Kat’s boy Kit was in a 20-degree bag. Had ‘em sleeping feet-to-feet, but they were way too giggly and excited to go to sleep. So Kat brought out a couple of books and we took turns reading to them until they drifted off to sleep. I popped a couple of NyQuil gel-caps and crawled into my hammock to read. Figuring I’d drift off to sleep and wake up in a few hours to a boy calling out ‘cause he was cold, or scared, or had to pee. Oh, boy was I wrong.
This crazy wind blew in, just roaring up the side of that mountain. And it was cold. Whipping around hard enough that I couldn’t keep my tarp down. It was loud as a freight train. Try as I could, I just couldn’t get to sleep. I got up at about 10 to check on the boys, thinking that if they even so much as whimpered that I’d bundle them up and take them inside where I’d sleep on the couch. But oh no, they were snoring like lumberjacks. The warmth was emanating off the top of that bag like it was a space heater. (Come to find out, Kat had the same thought when he – freezing and unable to sleep in that wind – checked on them an hour later.)
Around 1 in the morning, I got up again but this time it was because my hammock ropes were stretched too far and had sagged enough to put my butt on the ground. In the cold, whipping wind I stood there thinking that my Leatherman was just inside a short walk away. That hastily tied slip-knot was tighter than a duck’s . . . well, it was real tight. I was tired and cold, though, so I just bit down on that rope to work it loose a little bit. I wasn’t done reminding myself it was a bad idea when the crown on my front tooth split clean in half. The front half bounced off into the darkness while the back half tried to kill me.
Let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep.
Those boys didn’t so much as miss a beat in their synchronized snoring that whole blasted night. Woke up the next morning, eager and impatient to go. Wind had died down, the world was a nice cool 55 degrees, and we had miles yet to go before hitting trail dirt.