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  1. #1
    New Member viktor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    Warbonnet BB 1.1
    OES MacCat Deluxe
    Hammock Gear UQ/TQ
    Whoopie Sling

    Hammocking on an AT Section Hike in NY

    Hello everyone, I just returned from what was both my first AT section hike, and my first trip using my hammock system.
    I started, with two friends, from Greenwood Lake, NY on Friday, and hiked a total of ~48 miles to arrive at Dennytown Road by Monday. I wanted to recap some of my experience on the trail and share some photos with you guys.

    Day 1 | Wildcat Shelter
    Our group got a late start, leaving Greenwood Lake around 6pm. We had some trouble finding the blue blaze trail that leads from town up to the AT. Luckily, after being directed in the general area of a park by some locals, I ran into a NOBO thru-hiker named Sam in a Subway where I stopped to ask for advice. I jogged back to the parking lot where my friends were as if I had just seen a unicorn, it was the first time I had met a thru hiker and I was excited to start.

    We made our way to Wildcat shelter that night, and it was surreal to arrive to a place with what felt like friends I just hadn't met before. Here's a view of my tarp among the trees taken from the high ground at the shelter:
    I used a MacCat Deluxe tarp rigged with a continuous ridge line made using a Dutch Hook and Stingerz.

    I had the pleasure of meeting a very-English hiker, and HF member, named Jolly, who spotted my hammock out of the darkness. Turns out, we have practically the same hammock set up: a Blackbird, MacCat Deluxe, and Hammock Gear UQ. I was incredibly excited to meet someone who had experience with hammocks, and tried to soak up some knowledge.

    Jolly showed me a cool trick that was simple, but I hadn't thought of: pulling one side of the tarp back under the ridge line and attaching it to the stakes on the opposite side to create a one-sided shelter that allowed me a view at night, but was easy to re-deploy if rain began.
    In the photo you can see this tarp configuration around my Blackbird, with the HG 40 degree UQ hanging below.

    Day 2 | Fingerboard Shelter
    From Wildcat we hiked to Fingerboard Shelter. On the way, we saw some of our first great sights of the trip. Fitzgerald Falls was down to a trickle, but still beautiful. The Lemon Squeezer was very cool, and I really enjoyed the "highland" feel of some of the surrounding area. We camped at a site a few hundred feet from Fingerboard that night, which by the way is a beautiful shelter with a great view.

    I tried my tarp in porch-mode that day using two walking sticks I had picked up along the way. It was pleasant and made a great spot for breakfast the next morning, too.

    Sadly, thanks to my less-than-stellar bear bag hanging that night, I think some critter got to my bran new ZPacks cuben bag, as the corner was ripped up the next morning.

    Day 3 | Hemlock Springs Campsite
    Day 3 was our big day, with 18 miles total. Our group was proud to accomplish this feat on only our second actual day of the AT. Along the way to Hemlock Springs there were some great views at Arden(?) and Black Mtn. Bear Mtn was cool, but very crowded: certainly a shock after a couple days without many people. Although it was entertaining to see the tourists stare at us, not knowing that our stink and dirt paled in comparison to that of the thru hikers we had passed. The Bear Mtn bridge offered great views, but the climb up the hill to Hemlock Springs immediately following the bridge crossing was less than enjoyable. Hemlock springs was beautiful, and we met three other section hikers there.
    One more picture of the hammock set up at Hemlock Springs Campsite.

    Day 4 | Finish at Dennytown Road
    We had heard talk of a Deli up the trail, but words did not match the overwhelming joy at the sight of the word Pizza under the Appalachian Market sign. I ate way too much and was not feeling well for the remainder of our hike that day. We were excited to finish, but I definitely feel a calling to hike more, and refine my hammock practices and skills.

    Parting Notes
    My first experience with CBS was STRANGE. I used a HG 3/4 length UQ, and while my body was warm, the sensation of cold legs/feet on the bottom, and hot legs/feet on top was unexpected. I remembered what I had read though, and used my sit pad under my feet, inside the footbox of my TQ. Maneuvering with this took some getting used to. By the second night, I was really getting the hang (pun not intended) of sleeping with he hammock and quilts in general, and was starting to feel very comfortable. I seem to have found the correct position for my Blackbird: and it felt GOOD. By night three at Hemlock Springs, I slept like a baby.

    Was very happy to have met Jolly and learned from him. The tarp trick he taught me is great for getting the best of both worlds. I had read about Snakeskins, but after seeing the ease of use of Jolly's, I am convinced I would really like to try a set for my tarp.

    I sort of larkshead knotted my headlamp onto my hammock ridgeline each night for easy access, and slid it down towards my feet to keep it out of the way. It was convenient, but I think I might convert the mesh zip pocket from my ULA Ohm 2.0 to a ridgeline organizer for the hammock for this purpose. Of course, the BB shelf was convenient also.

    I used a balled up jacket for a pillow in the hammock, and found this very helpful. I might try and find a good actual pillow for this purpose.

    Anyway, glad to finally get out into the woods to try all my hammock setup, and confident I've made a good choice by converting to hanging. By the end of the trip, both of my friends were interested in hammocks. Maybe that had something to do with them carrying 40lb backpacks, and sharing a 6lb tent though...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Red Cinema's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Princeton, NJ
    WBBB 1.1
    Incubator 30
    Straps :)
    Nice! Sounds like you got some good things figgered out! Was just up on the NJ AT myself.
    “Stories set in the Culture in which Things Went Wrong tended to start with humans losing or forgetting or deliberately leaving behind their terminal. It was a conventional opening, the equivalent of straying off the path in the wild woods in one age, or a car breaking down at night on a lonely road in another.”
    ― Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games

  3. #3
    Senior Member 2ply's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Soco Gap, NC
    OxPalace,Big Squid
    Oxgear, KAQ, WL
    Thanks for sharing the adventure. Sounds like y'all had a great time of it on the trail.
    Everyone ought to believe in something....I believe I'll go set up the hammock!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    DIY Hammock
    Hennessy Hex
    DIY Down UQ
    Sounds like you had a great trip! Congrats on breaking your hammock setup in, the setup looks great

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