Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A dark and stormy night. And day. And night.

June 10 - A dark and stormy night. And day. 

It was just past 7pm last night when the wind picked up. I thought it prudent to check the tarp lines and decided to double wrap the lines around the rocks. 

No sooner was I zipped back into the hammock when it began pouring and the wind kicked it up several notches, enough to make my hammock shake and shimmy. The wind seemed to change directions repeatedly and I was worried the tarp might fail. 

I had a fitful sleep as my house kept moving to and fro with each wind gust, and when I woke up at 3 am, I was still wearing my glasses as I was prepared to leap out into the storm if need be. Truth be told I wasn't sure what I'd do if the tarp failed. A cord breakage would not be much of a problem but if the material failed it would be structurally unsound to the point where it could not be pitched. And then I'd be in some trouble.  It's made of Silicon impregnated nylon and works much like an umbrella - so long as it's under tension it will shed water. 

What was worse, though, was the hammock was taking on water. I used the excess tarp-to-tree lines to act as drip lines on the hammock suspension. I have 12 foot lines and rarely need more than three or four feet to secure the hammock to the tree.

When it rains hard, water flows down the tree and then some of it veers off following the hammock suspension. A drip line gives the water another chance to change direction and flow to the ground instead if all the way to hammock where the material will then soak it up. My drip lines were too small relative to the flow of water. 

It was still storming three hours later this morning and it continued until past 9 am, when I was wondering what I ought to do. I was surprised I had some off-and-on AT&T service and managed to get a radar image. Then I sent an email to Julia and she managed to update me on the weather with more accuracy. 

The rain kept starting and stopping. For a brief moment there was sunshine and the world looked rather pleasant. Then it was gone and the winds were back. Bottom line was they were calling for 90% chance of rain today but a better day tomorrow.
One frustrated hiker.

There were at least eight tents back at the campground four miles back where I watered up yesterday and I kept waiting for these hikers to come by but I only saw three. So it seems they saw the same weather report and are staying put. 

I hung out listening to the radio when available - about 10 minutes or so each hour if lucky, and read stuff I have on my Kindle app. 

Thunder showers, some pretty severe, came and went. One in particular filled my tarp (rigged in porch mode) with puddles of water. I had to push up on the tarp to empty the puddles every few minutes. When the rain subsided I went out to tighten things up. 

As I pulled on the tarp lines I heard cracking wood. I heard this twice earlier an hour or so before. I thought it might've been an approaching hiker but none showed. As I looked over there was the tremendous crack of splitting wood and a huge limb, as thick as my waist, on an adjacent tree only 20 meters away broke loose and crashed to the ground. A widow maker!

I looked overhead to double check there were no potential hammock killers above me. I usually hang from smaller trees away from the big monsters and never under any dead limbs. A sobering incident nonetheless. 

It's damp and misty but there could be worse days. The tarp and hammock are holding up so far. Another soggy day in the hammock.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Peter: I'm happy to hear that you are hanging in there, no pun intended, on your adventure. Your commentary, pictures, video, and sound effects are simply wonderful. I feel as if I'm on the trail with you but without the blisters! Your beard is looking great. Gives you a whole new 'Czar of the Trail' look. Quite disthinguished. Stay in the moment my friend. Gary