September 22, 2012
Friends Mauro, Rich, and Frankie asked me to join them on a Harriman backpacking overnighter that coincidentally ended along the LP at Stockbridge shelter. I naturally agreed to go, but they were leaving at 6am and hiking about 8 miles before getting to the shelter area. I had other morning plans so I would have to meet them there later. I received a text around noon that the boys were at the shelter spot already. I was running really late so I grabbed my pack and simply started shoving in anything I thought I may need. I decided to camp in my new hammock I made from information on Hammocks forum. The main issue was I screwed up the directions and made it 16" too short for my body length so it would be a tight and bent fit. The water up there was dodgy so I promised the guys I'd mule up all the water (9 liters) and a liter of wine for dinner.
|Frankie in post hike mode|
At the end, my pack and a second cooler weighed in at over 65lbs, and I headed up the trail from Silvermine parking lot. It was warm out and I was dripping with sweat near the top and huffing and puffing it up the last bit. They were camped just beyond the shelter on the LP in a nice grassy area with a rock ledge forming the fire pit area that as been there since eternity. I dropped my gear and found a spot for my hammock camp.
|Rich and Mauro|
|My Stealth Hammock Camp|
I surprise the guys and pulled out a very cold 6-pack of Sam Adams Octoberfest (yes, all heavy glass bottles) so on top of all the other weight I carried, I still came packed some coldies. We ate, laughed and drank and had a great evening. I also brought a mink pelt I found in a garage sale box and it was like our mascot as we pranked Frankie and put it in his tent as a little surprise..."Guys, Guys!!!, what is this thing!"
|Mauro with Mink Mohawk|
We watched the weather as a wicked cell was headed our way. Smartphones with doppler radar feeds (when operational), are a great camping tool as we knew exactly when to take cover. It hit around 9pm and I rode it out in my hammock with 50 MPH winds, lightning, and torrential rains. It dropped into 40's overnight and rained on and off all night with a steady 20 MPH wind. I slept very poorly and was very cold as the hammock / tarp set up I made was like a cold wind tunnel. There is clear room for improvement here and I need to make another, improved version with proper length and a means for insulating the bottom. At least I was dry and survived. We had a great breakfast of eggs, oatmeal and coffee, which warmed me up. We broke camp and headed on down the mountain towards home.