Hike in Hammock and Fishing

I got invited by our very own Kent Lufkin to join him and two friends, Don and Bob, for a hike in and hammock trip to an Alpine Lakes Wilderness location that I've never visited. They left early on Friday, but on Friday I had a couple of other obligations, court appearance and work day, to attend to before departing. Needless to say I got a much later start.

Kent's directions were somewhat cryptic, but I wrote down what he told me on the back of a used envelope. I read them to myself a couple of times on my way and figured, I can find this place. I have his directions, I have my compass, headlamp and map. No sweat. If I need to, I can hang my hammock anywhere there are trees if it gets too late, we do have a few trees around here.

Drove the long drive. Got turned around at one neighborhood used as a landmark. After driving through it I realized that I missed the turn. I was not supposed to drive through the neighborhood, just to the neighborhood as a landmark and then continue on another road. Okay, about ten minutes lost there. Off the pavement and onto the easement with signs every so often to remind me that use of the easement is all I get to do in these parts. Passed another landmark, then another, then another and then it was time for me to park my rig. Whilst fiddling with the last items to put into my pack for the hike in...the sky opened up and it started raining. This was a pretty good rain too, not some misty or drizzly crap. Where is that raincoat? It is in the other pack that I used for another camping trip last weekend. Oh well, weather is good, I'll be wet and I've got plenty of dry clothes in baggies inside the pack.

The trail led me down a road, past the trail head sign, through a bog/swamp/mudhole, (thanks for that buddy), into the woods and away we go. This trail is not horribly long, but is does not appear to be heavy traffic because the brush is pretty tight to the hiker. Wet was had from above, left and right! Maybe 1/3 or what I figured was about that far, I see a dog approaching, then another, then some guy. He asks "are you Ed?" Um, yes, I'm Ed. Is that your rig parked all by itself at the trailhead. He says "I'm Sean, yeah, that is my rig. Then he says "the guys at the lake wondered if I was Ed." He and I chatted a bit and then I was off. He suggested I had a good two hours left. Two hours? Holy smokes man, its gonna be way dark in two hours.

So I Sean's rig was at the trailhead, and mine was a the trailhead, where is Kent's rig? Well, later he will admit to giving me horrible directions (but they weren't) and to having parked elsewhere to take a "shortcut" presumably to avoid the bog/marsh/swamp area...which I gathered was no shortcut at all.

Meanwhile, more woods, then it opened up to a wide gravel area, another landmark on my notes. There is a trail just to the left, back into the woods. Shortly thereafter I enter an area with a lot of blowdown. I know I'm in the right place because it is on the landmark list. I lost the trail, following a game trail through to the wall of the woods where the trail just disappeared. Backed out to the start of the blow down and moved to my right a bit and saw a trail marking tape. Back in business, only about 15 minutes of scrambling over and under a bunch of logs lost.

More woods, nice looking open areas beneath the high coniferous canopy. Spongy ground gives way to what appears to be a dry creekbed, but it is full of somewhat smooth rocks, moss and did I mention it is still raining pretty hard. Let's say this was the toughest part of the whole trail. Slowly grinding uphill through this slick creek bed picking every step cautiously under a pack load that was far too heavy. Plodding along...passed the end of the easement sign announcing my arrival into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. More uphill, twisting and turning around a lot of large downed trees. In the distance I can see some open air space, suggestive of a lake, and about 15 more minutes I was to a point I could see the water. I listened...nothing. Walked a bit more and heard the sounds of humans. A few minutes later here I am meeting Kent, Don and Bob at the edge of the lake.

The lake was gorgeous, nestled between a high ridge to the east and west. The slope was pretty steep. Kent said that they had their hammocks hung in the trees a hundred or so yards further down the trail. I decided to head that way to get mine hanging because it was getting pretty late. Three hammocks were joined by a fourth, a light snack, some brief socialization and all were out for the night.

The next morning I was the first up and down to the water. It was still very early and I took my sweet time enjoying the view, making and eating breakfast and inflating my flytepacker raft (for the first time to use it finally). The guys joined me pretty soon and suggested not rushing onto the water until the sun hits it. Kent says that "wakes the fish up". As soon as the sun hit, bugs were popping and fish were very actively eating whatever it was that was coming off. I went out, then Kent, Don and finally Bob. We were all into fish, mostly all day long. Kent was catching two or three to each of our one, but we were all pretty busy. There was a lot of school girl giggling...yes Mr. Lufkin, you giggled like a school girl quite a few times.

Every fly that I tossed at them got eaten. Some more aggressively, but all got takes and hookups. I'm certain that on Saturday I caught at least 30 fish, maybe more. You may think that is some sort of made up crap, if so, you have wasted too much time reading this far. Easily thirty. I'm betting Don and Bob hit thirty too, but Kent was the King of the Court touching 50, 60, maybe 70 fish. Seriously, he was the last off the water and his rod was bent all damn day long.

Late in the day a father and son arrived at the launch putting in their two man raft (the boy carried it in). They were quite nice and sociable. They caught a few on spinning gear with teardrop bubble floats and wooly buggers.

A nice boil and eat meal, lots of sampling of various adult beverages brought by all and it was time for hammock lights out for the night.

Sunday morning I was the first up, brought my fishing stuff from hammock-a-looza to the shore area. Don was busy breaking down his hammock area. We heard a strange rhythmic sound, no it was not banjos! When Kent, Bob and I took down our hammocks we decided it was not birds (Ed) but the sound of a pump. Maybe father and son's boat leaked overnight? Arriving at the water edge we saw a group of five guys that all carried in solo Seveylor rafts, they were pumping them up and launching to fish in honor of a lost friend who had introduced them to this lake.

With them launching and spreading to areas around the lake, Bob, Kent and I decided that yesterday was good enough that we need not work in on their outing of remembrance. Don hooked a handful early and then came to shore to eat a late breakfast and everyone packed up to head out. I was the first packed and had the longest drive so I shook the hands of three new friends, hoisted my pack and grabbed my trekking poles.

Unsure what my hike in time was, maybe around two hours in the rain. My hike out time was only 1:15 and I stopped for a few nice water breaks and to enjoy the views of the woods, Stone walls along the trail and scenic water drainage. It was a very nice weekend out. I hope I can join these gents again in the near future.

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Peyton00

Active Member
I dated a woman thats a hammock gal. She has the ENO double. Its a nice set up with the bug screen and rain fly. Its small and lite.
 

Ed Call

Long Lost Member
WFF Supporter
Are there weight limits for these new camping hammocks ? How far do the trees need to be apart for them to be functional ?
Most have a weight limit based on the material used for the hammock body. My current hammock is double layer 1.7 fabric and has a weight limit of 275#.
 

oldgoat03

Finally got my S#%* together & it wont all fit!
My Hennessey Ultra lite Backpacker Asym is rated at 225 Lbs. I know however that when I'm in it with my bag, pad etc I am pushing that limit. They are pretty darned sturdy in my experience. They have other models as well. I think Kent had the expedition which is rated to 250 or 260 lbs. It is made of heavier materials and is porportionaltely larger as well.
The distance between tie out points (trees) is 10-14'. I've noticed the Expedition has shorter tie up cords than my Asym. One could certainly bring additional straps for around a tree of even lengthen the cords. The secret to a good night in a Hammocks in my experiecne is to string them up tight, then sit on or get it and stretch them for a bit. Then re-tie as tight as possible.
 

Ron Eagle Elk

Active Member
My old hammock was some rip stop nylon parachute material sewn up by a parachute rigger. Slept in it every night (almost) while in SE Asia. Wish I still had it. I'll be looking into a new "fancy hammock" here soon. Thanks for the story, photos and info.
 

Ron Eagle Elk

Active Member
Bill, quite lengthy actually, 1965,66,67, 70, 71, 72. For the first visit I was with the 173d Airborne Brigade (Sep) tour group. Lots of eco camping experience. Started the second trip with the same bunch, but switched to the C Company (Airborne), 75th Infantry (Ranger) tour. Smaller groups on each hike. Finished with the 17th Combat Aviation Group. Since I had so much camping experience, they didn't really know what to do with me, so I loafed a lot.
 

jersey

livin' the dream
Hammock intro, thanks to mumbles Alex and I believe freestone via a post here. I have not "been to ground" camping in over a year.

Last June I got sick and had a ton of time to read up on this kind of camping. What a difference in rest and comfort. Thanks WFF.

Great post mumbles, fun story and pics.
 

Ed Call

Long Lost Member
WFF Supporter
Hammock intro, thanks to mumbles Alex and I believe freestone via a post here. I have not "been to ground" camping in over a year.

Last June I got sick and had a ton of time to read up on this kind of camping. What a difference in rest and comfort. Thanks WFF.

Great post mumbles, fun story and pics.
Jersey, glad that some of my drivel found value in your life! There are a few of us hammock campers scattered throughout the WFF membership. Maybe we can start our own gang...
 

rory

Go Outside
This damn forum always makes me want to try something new! Thanks for the great post and all of the information on hammocks. I am completely intrigued. The spreader bars seem like a luxury. Now I will spend more time in front of the computer. Great report!
 

Ed Call

Long Lost Member
WFF Supporter
Thanks Rory. If you can get a really diagonal lay in the gathered end hammocks they are as comfy as floating in a cloud. I find the Warbonnet Outdoors Ridge Runner bridge style hammock with the spreader bars at head and foot a bit more flat and comfortable. Sleeping suspended really has helped my back. I may never sleep on the ground again, unless of course there are not suitable trees...but I can try to avoid such places now.
 

brat

Active Member
Thanks for the post.

I'm curious about the Hammocks.
Are they comfortable and I presume, easier than a tent and sleeping bag ?
Where do you get them ?

thanks.

I started using an ENO (first single, then double--and I recommend the double) this year and found it sleeps very well. As for your question about distance between trees I found it best to use a connection like this. The three items shown in the video (2 rappels rings, 6mm cord, and 1" tubular webbing) can all be bought at REI in the climbing department. and are way less expensive than the manufactured suspension straps. I tied a simple loop in one end of the tubular webbing and pass this around the tree and then pull the free end of the webbing through the loop. It allows me to easily use trees whose diameter is too big for the typical manufactured straps.
You should also check out this video (and simple/cheap solution) that will help you stay dry when it rains since even your tarp won't prevent water from dripping down your suspension lines, past the connecting hardware, and getting your hammock wet.
A YouTube search on hammocks will provide all the information you need there on various ways people rig hammocks.
Have fun.
 

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