Flagstaff Lake Hammocking Trip[s]

Several years ago I posted about a kayak paddle & camp that my bud Ed, and I did out to an island in Flagstaff Lake just above Eustis, Maine and Ed’s cabin that we call Upptacamp.

I am not sure that I mentioned it at that time, but we also discovered a much nicer site over on the mainland, and we have been back out across the lake to it several times since then.

Maintained by the local community development corporation, it is situated up on a bluff about 20 feet above lake level, and adjacent to a nice sandy beach. About an acre of piney woodland has been cleared, and the trees limbed to 20 feet above ground level… It’s as good as if someone had decided they wanted to set up a dedicated hammocking site. It even has a kludgy… but you have to bring yer own TP.

Last June, I sponsored the first “Mystery” Paddle In and Hang. No one was told the destination until a few days beforehand, just that they would drive about three hours after they passed the Maine-New Hampshire border. Only about a dozen people came, but everyone there agreed it was possibly the best hang they’d ever been on.

For our “group hangs”, we most often get together in state parks, or commercial campgrounds [just for convenience and space] and they simply can’t hold a candle to camping in the wild. At the Savage Farm site, as it is called, we were able to spread out, and be so scattered that no one felt like they were being crowded or really camping with a group.

 

We hung up, hung out, ate well, and found an absolute trove of “fatwood” that we harvested for firestarters.

We took a group paddle up the lakeshore on Saturday, people went bushwhacking, two people who had never been out in a canoe or kayak before developed their skills to the point that when the weather blew in nasty just as we were getting geared up to leave, that they were the ones who made a double trip across to the landing to get everyone out. We both “sat out” some occasional crappy weather and reveled in some that was really great… including the fabulous Saturday evening sunset. It is hard to beat camping right around the Solstice. The bugs even weren’t bad.

Our 2017 “Mystery” Paddle and Hang was such a huge success that I wanted to get something up about it before we go back to the Savage Farm site in mid-June for “Return To The Lake”… After everyone talked about it at every other hang the rest of the ’17 season… telling everyone how wonderful it had been and how much they had missed out by not embracing the “mystery”, the interest was up and, so, we have another one planned.

You can follow the thread over on HammockForums.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old Timey Scouting

This a bit vintage even for me, but this is pretty much where I started, too. Army surplus two-piece canvas tents with no floor [and no blue plastic tarps to put down under you], hemp and sisal rope, wooden pegs, jerry cans, neckerchiefs with hand-carved slides, wool, and whatever shoes you owned.

We.Had.A.Ball!

What’s A Hang?

A lot of eating, and we sleep in hammocks.

For this one at Harold Parker SP in Mass, we had three stoves, two grills, a gas smoker, ten pounds of mixed sausages, three racks of ribs, short-ribs, pulled pork, steaks, hot dogs and burgers, “cooler” corn, corn chowder, five salads, potato pie [with bacon], bacon apple pie, dutch oven pizzas, dutch oven “dump” cake, 35 year-old aquavit, three dogs, twenty-five people [ranging in age from 20-74]… and a whole buncha fun!

[Oh, yeah… we gave two newcomers the chance to try out nearly every hammock made, together with other gear, so they can make considered choices when they get ready to spend some money]

At the next hang, we eat lobster!

[Both “n00bs” are already planning on being there, too!]

I Am Bald !

….Really, really bald. I claim it is just a solar panel for a sex-machine.

Most days I wear a cap. When I sleep out in the wild, my head tends to get chilly, so I mostly wear a toque.I have a couple, including a sweet down version from UGQ that pulls way down over your face and eyes for the really cold nights. Last weekend I didn’t take one, and I ended up with a tee pulled over my head and tucked into the neck of my shirt when it got windy and wet. I looked even more dorky than usual.

 

When I got home, I found a deal on “buffs” from Amazon. Rather pretentiously, they call them “Outdoor Multifunctional Sports Magic Scarfs”…. Great color selection though [35 different sets of nine patterned buffs each], and way cheap… $7.99 up the bunch. I got the “Totem2” set. Buy a set, get a free buff, so I ended up with 10 total. [As a note: The center left one in the photo wasn’t in  the set… I got some light green one that I don’t like as much] Anyway I’ll be taking a few extras to the next hang and up my karma by giving them away to the others.

If you don’t know what a buff is… look it up on the net. In short, it is a sleeve of stretch fabric that you can “wear” a whole bunch of different ways. Neck gaiter, dust mask, balaclava, headband, beanie, Foreign Legion neck cover… etc. Since it is a super lightweight poly-microfiber, you can also wet it down and use it for evaporative cooling when it gets hot. As well, one of them weighs next-to-nothing. Perfect in the pack.

I turned mine inside out, twisted the center part and pulled both halves back over my head to make a beanie. Perfect for summer night when there is a bit of a breeze, and I can pull it down over my eyes for a daytime snooze.

I really like these, especially at the price. Soft, light, colorful… just loud enough to make a statement [“This guy has NO taste!”].

They come nicely flatpacked, so it is easy to toss one or two into a pocket or in your clothes bag just to have on hand.

 

 

 

At the same time, and from the same maker [Kingree], I picked up one of the Shemaghs that the troops have adopted over in the Middle East to keep themselves both warm and cool. [Again… look it up for more detail].

My buddy Iuri (@brazilianguy) and his lady, Fey (@chinesegirl), both love theirs and bring ,and wear, them at every campout. Last weekend I thought longingly about what a difference having one would have been making to my comfort.

 

I have to work out the stylistic details of tying/wearing one without looking like an even more complete dork, but a lot of the others also have them and vaunt their usefulness. Again, multi-use, in that they can be used in a number of ways.  A bit heavy, since they are all cotton, however, that means you can also wet these down and get the cooling effects, or use them as a camp towel.

[$14… be sure to get one that is “heavy weight”. The light ones are like tissue, and fall apart quickly. Some also reportedly smell like chemical solvents and aren’t colorfast… read them-thar’ reviews first, folks]

Swing Into Spring

It was a year ago yesterday that I got the Reverend elfLiza off the ground for the first time. This was over at Kings Mountain Park in NC in my 11′ Dutchware Hexon 2.0. [Note that she figured out the diagonal lay for comfort right off]. Since then she has gotten in two nights at the New England Hammock Hangers Assoc. Lobster and Lighthouses Hang, won some gear in the raffle, and is excited that I just sold her Hennessy and a complete ENO setup for enough moolah to grab a new Dutchware “Chameleon” when he starts taking retail orders in June.

 

I took off to another hang with the NEHHA gang down at Ashby, MA over last April weekend. I think the total number was 43 folks. Wonderful to see what are now old friends and make a bunch of new ones. Group hangs are simply the best way to find out what you need to know to make your hammocking experience what it ought to be.

Here we all are on Saturday evening after consuming far more food than anyone should be allowed.[I’m dead-center in the back row with my full belly hanging out of the brown plaid] Five kinds of stew [including venison], a dutch oven full of chili, Penne Putannesca, about three other tubs of pasta casseroles, a couple of veggie things, fire-baked potatoes in their skins, a rump roast cooked right on the coals, bacon wrapped chicken hearts, breaded cod loins…. and we never got to the four pounds of burgers. Don’t start me up on the breakfasts, I’ll give out the hint that fresh made doughnuts featured heavily… and BACON.

We had tree-climbing rigs set up, a slack-line 35′ up in the air, map and compass training, I did an “instuctable” on making the Flaming Dragon T#rds fire starters, and we did a show-and-tell walk to see all the different hammock setups folks had brought.

I also got to use my Loco Libre Gear “Ghost Pepper” 30° top-quilt for the first time out in the wild.Worth every penny. The chevron baffling that they use to keep the down from shifting is just incredible. One of the best things about the 30° top quilt is that I can match it up with one of my Costco down throws and easily get down to 20° or below… likely to be a rare occurrence, but the option is nice to have.

 

 

A stream running behind the grove was our sound track for falling asleep.

 

 

 

photo by BranMayo

 

 

And then my friend Iuri [aka BrazilianGuy] did this highly professional video about “why” and “what”… check it out!  >> VIDEO <<

A Loose Affiliation of…. ??

NEHHA [New England Hammock Hangers Association]: Lighthouses and Lobsters Hang, Sept. 11th-13th, 2015, Phippsburg Maine.

Looking down the line from my Amok Draumr.

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Quite possibly the best thing I’ve done for myself in a very long time.  Met some truly wonderful people [for the first time in a very long time], had some truly great fun. and I’m going back for more next month over in New Hampshire at the Great Pumpkin Hang.

If you have any interest at all in hammock camping, these group hangs are a great way to see just about all the variations available in gear and the ways to rig it up before you take the plunge. Friendly folks, and nobody cares if you come in a tent.

Just go check out hammockforms.com for the regional listings of where and when.

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