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Winter Thinking

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  • ra1@imrisk.com
    Winter Thinking The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great deal of thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of it
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
      Winter Thinking

      The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great deal of
      thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of it is purely
      emotional in a primordial way. I have sometimes been challenged to write a
      little more about my feelings than my findings. As a scientist/engineer that is
      not always easy. However, that is what this post is all about.

      The thought of going out into the cold and sleeping in a hammock can be quite
      daunting. Yes, I reassure my son, I know it is completely safe. If I begin to
      shiver I will come in. I will escape to the warmth provided by a big warm house.
      And those words reassure me too.

      Somewhere in my primitive defense mechanisms, words of warning scream though the
      rational thought pattern. "You are going to die in the cold," my brain whispers
      to me. "You are going to get sleepy and never wake up." So, in response, I pick
      up the hammock, the quilt, and some additional insulation into my arms. I step
      into the frosty world of swirling wind, crunchy snow underfoot and realize the
      little hairs inside my nose are freezing to one another with each breath. In
      this environment I will spend a night, trusting the materials I have put
      together with my own hands to keep me safe, even if not comfortable.

      Why? Well, it all started when a friend who would be going with me to the
      Boundary Waters Canoe Area asked me to make sure the hammock stuff would work
      well on our mid-summer's trip. I recognized the look in his eyes. I have had the
      same look when considering a trip to the wilderness with a friend. "Is he going
      to drag me down? Is he going to be begging for extra food? Is he going to be
      miserable and even beg to go home early because he has not thought through the
      implications of his choice of gear?" The thought went something like this: If I
      can spend comfortable nights across the worst of Ohio's April with the gear, I
      should be able to do anything the border lakes can throw at me in August.

      Exactly how this snowballed (sorry for the pun) into sleep systems for Ohio's
      January, I really don't know. Maybe a few too many testosterone molecules got
      lodged in some wacky part of my primitive brainstem... But last year I started
      seeing how cold I could go. Whenever I think rationally about it, the devotion
      to this cold problem in a hammock seems quite un-rational. Too bad! It, like the
      figurative mountain, is there and begs to be climbed. The realization that no
      one else has ever been this path before is part of the adventure. The
      realization that there is a reason no one has been this path before is just
      something I stick in the TravelPod as extra insulation...it is like a bunch of
      dry leaves.

      The result finds me, again, swinging between two trees in a 15 mph wind, with an
      air temperature hovering around 20. I feel quite snug, even smug, lying there
      looking into the sky through the little slit in the Travel Pod.

      Some nights, the sky is as clear as interstellar space. I again look to my
      childhood friend, Orion, and name his stars. Up and to the left is the beautiful
      red tinted Beetle Juice (I use the phonetic spellings here just for fun) and her
      cold blue twin Rigel down and to the right. How a single constellation ended up
      with so many beautiful objects has always amazed me and is a powerful reminder
      that random groups are not homogeneous. Random distributions, in fact, are often
      wonderfully complex with beautiful clumpings of splendor. Back to the upper
      right of Orion is that Amazon Woman named Bellatrix. How I again thank God that
      my wife is not like her! To the lower right is the misnamed Saiph or sword.
      Between Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) and Bellatrix is the fainter Meissa, easy to
      overlook when the sky is obscured by moon glow. The beautiful stars of the belt
      are there: Alnitac, Alnilam, and Mintaka. I use my last name (Allnutt) to
      remember the beginning of the first two. The suffixes come to be because there
      once was a great Air Force command called the Tactical Air Command (TAC) and
      because my sheep in the back yard each began as a winter born lamb. I look at
      the structure of M42 in the sword and judge the clarity of the sky by how much
      of the cloud I can see with my bespeckled glasses.

      Other nights, the moon shines partly obscured by clouds through the waving
      branches of the trees over my head. I try to concentrate on the movement of the
      limbs, thinking about how much of the motion is due to my swinging and how much
      is due to the limbs moving in the air. In the cold, the limbs sometimes crack as
      the water in their thin skins freeze and then the ice breaks with a sudden
      movement of the limb in the wind. I worry a little about them coming down and
      spearing my abdomen, my life ending in a pool of coagulating and freezing blood,
      alone. It begins a singsong washing back and forth between the melancholy
      sterility of the emotions of winter and the logical improbability of any such
      event. I know I probably will not die this way. It is much more likely I would
      simply be badly wounded and crawl bleeding into the house. Small comfort as I
      look up again at the cold moon through the branches.

      Then there is the thought that this pod around the hammock will be my shroud.
      When will I wake with ice infesting the whole zipper? Will I be able to push the
      zipper through the ice, or will I have to resort to pulling the cloth apart at
      the seams. How well did I build the seams? Will I be able to get enough grip to
      break the threads? Should I have carried a knife to be with me so I can slit my
      way out? What about a gun, as has been suggested? Will some demented creature,
      man or beast, decide on this improbable cold night to attack me for warmth, or
      food, or out of meanness? Maybe it will be for my warm down quilt that they will
      sacrifice me on the cold black altar of death.

      With pleasant thoughts as these, I drift off to sleep. Dreams of cold caves and
      trees and warm lakes and summer breezes run through the dreams. Getting up to do
      the necessary at midnight and again at 2 or 3 AM, I wonder that I am so warm;
      and that I get cold as fast as I do. Back in the protective covers I warm up
      again and feel kinship with my kind that have been able to survive winter for
      these many generations. I wonder how many of them tried to do so in a hammock
      and how many of them would have thought me daft for trying. So great a cloud of
      witnesses debate about the merits of my thinking as I drift off to sleep again...

      And so it goes. Sometimes with only a few interruptions to turn on a different
      side, and sometimes with even hours of lying partly awake wondering when sleep
      will ever come and if the night will ever end.

      This is what it is like for me when I sleep in a hammock in the middle of the
      winter.

      All in all, it is a wonderful way spend a portion of the hours of life given to
      me. It is a wonderful way to live.

      Risk
    • Coy
      Thanks Rick, I enjoyed the philosofical(sp?) instead of scientific approach. I remember a night year before last thinking along similar lines. Not qute that
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
        Thanks Rick, I enjoyed the philosofical(sp?) instead of scientific
        approach.

        I remember a night year before last thinking along similar lines.
        Not qute that crazy though LOL. I do remember thinking, "You are
        an idiot, you could be at home in a warm bed snuggled next to your
        wife but no your out here in 16 deg weather freezing your butt
        off". Oh, and if you are in a Ponderosa, the gun might not be a
        bad idea. Wink.

        Coy Boy

        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, ra1@i... wrote:
        > Winter Thinking
        >
        > The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great
        deal of
        > thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of
        it is purely
        > emotional in a primordial way. I have sometimes been challenged to
        write a
        > little more about my feelings than my findings. As a
        scientist/engineer that is
        > not always easy. However, that is what this post is all about.
        >
        > The thought of going out into the cold and sleeping in a hammock
        can be quite
        > daunting. Yes, I reassure my son, I know it is completely safe. If
        I begin to
        > shiver I will come in. I will escape to the warmth provided by a
        big warm house.
        > And those words reassure me too.
        >
        > Somewhere in my primitive defense mechanisms, words of warning
        scream though the
        > rational thought pattern. "You are going to die in the cold," my
        brain whispers
        > to me. "You are going to get sleepy and never wake up." So, in
        response, I pick
        > up the hammock, the quilt, and some additional insulation into my
        arms. I step
        > into the frosty world of swirling wind, crunchy snow underfoot and
        realize the
        > little hairs inside my nose are freezing to one another with each
        breath. In
        > this environment I will spend a night, trusting the materials I
        have put
        > together with my own hands to keep me safe, even if not
        comfortable.
        >
        > Why? Well, it all started when a friend who would be going with me
        to the
        > Boundary Waters Canoe Area asked me to make sure the hammock stuff
        would work
        > well on our mid-summer's trip. I recognized the look in his eyes.
        I have had the
        > same look when considering a trip to the wilderness with a
        friend. "Is he going
        > to drag me down? Is he going to be begging for extra food? Is he
        going to be
        > miserable and even beg to go home early because he has not thought
        through the
        > implications of his choice of gear?" The thought went something
        like this: If I
        > can spend comfortable nights across the worst of Ohio's April with
        the gear, I
        > should be able to do anything the border lakes can throw at me in
        August.
        >
        > Exactly how this snowballed (sorry for the pun) into sleep systems
        for Ohio's
        > January, I really don't know. Maybe a few too many testosterone
        molecules got
        > lodged in some wacky part of my primitive brainstem... But last
        year I started
        > seeing how cold I could go. Whenever I think rationally about it,
        the devotion
        > to this cold problem in a hammock seems quite un-rational. Too
        bad! It, like the
        > figurative mountain, is there and begs to be climbed. The
        realization that no
        > one else has ever been this path before is part of the adventure.
        The
        > realization that there is a reason no one has been this path
        before is just
        > something I stick in the TravelPod as extra insulation...it is
        like a bunch of
        > dry leaves.
        >
        > The result finds me, again, swinging between two trees in a 15 mph
        wind, with an
        > air temperature hovering around 20. I feel quite snug, even smug,
        lying there
        > looking into the sky through the little slit in the Travel Pod.
        >
        > Some nights, the sky is as clear as interstellar space. I again
        look to my
        > childhood friend, Orion, and name his stars. Up and to the left is
        the beautiful
        > red tinted Beetle Juice (I use the phonetic spellings here just
        for fun) and her
        > cold blue twin Rigel down and to the right. How a single
        constellation ended up
        > with so many beautiful objects has always amazed me and is a
        powerful reminder
        > that random groups are not homogeneous. Random distributions, in
        fact, are often
        > wonderfully complex with beautiful clumpings of splendor. Back to
        the upper
        > right of Orion is that Amazon Woman named Bellatrix. How I again
        thank God that
        > my wife is not like her! To the lower right is the misnamed Saiph
        or sword.
        > Between Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) and Bellatrix is the fainter
        Meissa, easy to
        > overlook when the sky is obscured by moon glow. The beautiful
        stars of the belt
        > are there: Alnitac, Alnilam, and Mintaka. I use my last name
        (Allnutt) to
        > remember the beginning of the first two. The suffixes come to be
        because there
        > once was a great Air Force command called the Tactical Air Command
        (TAC) and
        > because my sheep in the back yard each began as a winter born
        lamb. I look at
        > the structure of M42 in the sword and judge the clarity of the sky
        by how much
        > of the cloud I can see with my bespeckled glasses.
        >
        > Other nights, the moon shines partly obscured by clouds through
        the waving
        > branches of the trees over my head. I try to concentrate on the
        movement of the
        > limbs, thinking about how much of the motion is due to my swinging
        and how much
        > is due to the limbs moving in the air. In the cold, the limbs
        sometimes crack as
        > the water in their thin skins freeze and then the ice breaks with
        a sudden
        > movement of the limb in the wind. I worry a little about them
        coming down and
        > spearing my abdomen, my life ending in a pool of coagulating and
        freezing blood,
        > alone. It begins a singsong washing back and forth between the
        melancholy
        > sterility of the emotions of winter and the logical improbability
        of any such
        > event. I know I probably will not die this way. It is much more
        likely I would
        > simply be badly wounded and crawl bleeding into the house. Small
        comfort as I
        > look up again at the cold moon through the branches.
        >
        > Then there is the thought that this pod around the hammock will be
        my shroud.
        > When will I wake with ice infesting the whole zipper? Will I be
        able to push the
        > zipper through the ice, or will I have to resort to pulling the
        cloth apart at
        > the seams. How well did I build the seams? Will I be able to get
        enough grip to
        > break the threads? Should I have carried a knife to be with me so
        I can slit my
        > way out? What about a gun, as has been suggested? Will some
        demented creature,
        > man or beast, decide on this improbable cold night to attack me
        for warmth, or
        > food, or out of meanness? Maybe it will be for my warm down quilt
        that they will
        > sacrifice me on the cold black altar of death.
        >
        > With pleasant thoughts as these, I drift off to sleep. Dreams of
        cold caves and
        > trees and warm lakes and summer breezes run through the dreams.
        Getting up to do
        > the necessary at midnight and again at 2 or 3 AM, I wonder that I
        am so warm;
        > and that I get cold as fast as I do. Back in the protective covers
        I warm up
        > again and feel kinship with my kind that have been able to survive
        winter for
        > these many generations. I wonder how many of them tried to do so
        in a hammock
        > and how many of them would have thought me daft for trying. So
        great a cloud of
        > witnesses debate about the merits of my thinking as I drift off to
        sleep again...
        >
        > And so it goes. Sometimes with only a few interruptions to turn on
        a different
        > side, and sometimes with even hours of lying partly awake
        wondering when sleep
        > will ever come and if the night will ever end.
        >
        > This is what it is like for me when I sleep in a hammock in the
        middle of the
        > winter.
        >
        > All in all, it is a wonderful way spend a portion of the hours of
        life given to
        > me. It is a wonderful way to live.
        >
        > Risk
      • Ed Speer
        Rick, I d say you re entering the Freedom part of hammock camping. I subtitled my book The Complete Guide to Comfort, Convenience and Freedom to express
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
          Message
          Rick, I'd say you're entering the "Freedom" part of hammock camping.  I subtitled my book The Complete Guide to Comfort, Convenience and Freedom" to express exactly the very "place" your hammock will take you, not physically, but mentally.  We're all familiar with the comfort and convenience--Ah, but the freedom part is the real heart of hammocking!  The journey has just begun.  Thanks for your thoughts....Ed
           
           
          -----Original Message-----
          From: ra1@... [mailto:ra1@...]
          Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 11:30 AM
          To: hammock camping
          Subject: [Hammock Camping] Winter Thinking

          Winter Thinking

          The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great deal of
          thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of it is purely
          emotional in a primordial way. I have sometimes been challenged to write a
          little more about my feelings than my findings. As a scientist/engineer that is
          not always easy. However, that is what this post is all about.

          The thought of going out into the cold and sleeping in a hammock can be quite
          daunting. Yes, I reassure my son, I know it is completely safe. If I begin to
          shiver I will come in. I will escape to the warmth provided by a big warm house.
          And those words reassure me too.

          Somewhere in my primitive defense mechanisms, words of warning scream though the
          rational thought pattern. "You are going to die in the cold," my brain whispers
          to me. "You are going to get sleepy and never wake up." So, in response, I pick
          up the hammock, the quilt, and some additional insulation into my arms. I step
          into the frosty world of swirling wind, crunchy snow underfoot and realize the
          little hairs inside my nose are freezing to one another with each breath. In
          this environment I will spend a night, trusting the materials I have put
          together with my own hands to keep me safe, even if not comfortable.

          Why? Well, it all started when a friend who would be going with me to the
          Boundary Waters Canoe Area asked me to make sure the hammock stuff would work
          well on our mid-summer's trip. I recognized the look in his eyes. I have had the
          same look when considering a trip to the wilderness with a friend. "Is he going
          to drag me down? Is he going to be begging for extra food? Is he going to be
          miserable and even beg to go home early because he has not thought through the
          implications of his choice of gear?" The thought went something like this: If I
          can spend comfortable nights across the worst of Ohio's April with the gear, I
          should be able to do anything the border lakes can throw at me in August.

          Exactly how this snowballed (sorry for the pun) into sleep systems for Ohio's
          January, I really don't know. Maybe a few too many testosterone molecules got
          lodged in some wacky part of my primitive brainstem... But last year I started
          seeing how cold I could go. Whenever I think rationally about it, the devotion
          to this cold problem in a hammock seems quite un-rational. Too bad! It, like the
          figurative mountain, is there and begs to be climbed. The realization that no
          one else has ever been this path before is part of the adventure. The
          realization that there is a reason no one has been this path before is just
          something I stick in the TravelPod as extra insulation...it is like a bunch of
          dry leaves.

          The result finds me, again, swinging between two trees in a 15 mph wind, with an
          air temperature hovering around 20. I feel quite snug, even smug, lying there
          looking into the sky through the little slit in the Travel Pod.

          Some nights, the sky is as clear as interstellar space. I again look to my
          childhood friend, Orion, and name his stars. Up and to the left is the beautiful
          red tinted Beetle Juice (I use the phonetic spellings here just for fun) and her
          cold blue twin Rigel down and to the right. How a single constellation ended up
          with so many beautiful objects has always amazed me and is a powerful reminder
          that random groups are not homogeneous. Random distributions, in fact, are often
          wonderfully complex with beautiful clumpings of splendor. Back to the upper
          right of Orion is that Amazon Woman named Bellatrix. How I again thank God that
          my wife is not like her! To the lower right is the misnamed Saiph or sword.
          Between Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) and Bellatrix is the fainter Meissa, easy to
          overlook when the sky is obscured by moon glow. The beautiful stars of the belt
          are there: Alnitac, Alnilam, and Mintaka. I use my last name (Allnutt) to
          remember the beginning of the first two. The suffixes come to be because there
          once was a great Air Force command called the Tactical Air Command (TAC) and
          because my sheep in the back yard each began as a winter born lamb. I look at
          the structure of M42 in the sword and judge the clarity of the sky by how much
          of the cloud I can see with my bespeckled glasses.

          Other nights, the moon shines partly obscured by clouds through the waving
          branches of the trees over my head. I try to concentrate on the movement of the
          limbs, thinking about how much of the motion is due to my swinging and how much
          is due to the limbs moving in the air. In the cold, the limbs sometimes crack as
          the water in their thin skins freeze and then the ice breaks with a sudden
          movement of the limb in the wind. I worry a little about them coming down and
          spearing my abdomen, my life ending in a pool of coagulating and freezing blood,
          alone. It begins a singsong washing back and forth between the melancholy
          sterility of the emotions of winter and the logical improbability of any such
          event. I know I probably will not die this way. It is much more likely I would
          simply be badly wounded and crawl bleeding into the house. Small comfort as I
          look up again at the cold moon through the branches.

          Then there is the thought that this pod around the hammock will be my shroud.
          When will I wake with ice infesting the whole zipper? Will I be able to push the
          zipper through the ice, or will I have to resort to pulling the cloth apart at
          the seams. How well did I build the seams? Will I be able to get enough grip to
          break the threads? Should I have carried a knife to be with me so I can slit my
          way out? What about a gun, as has been suggested? Will some demented creature,
          man or beast, decide on this improbable cold night to attack me for warmth, or
          food, or out of meanness? Maybe it will be for my warm down quilt that they will
          sacrifice me on the cold black altar of death.

          With pleasant thoughts as these, I drift off to sleep. Dreams of cold caves and
          trees and warm lakes and summer breezes run through the dreams. Getting up to do
          the necessary at midnight and again at 2 or 3 AM, I wonder that I am so warm;
          and that I get cold as fast as I do. Back in the protective covers I warm up
          again and feel kinship with my kind that have been able to survive winter for
          these many generations. I wonder how many of them tried to do so in a hammock
          and how many of them would have thought me daft for trying. So great a cloud of
          witnesses debate about the merits of my thinking as I drift off to sleep again...

          And so it goes. Sometimes with only a few interruptions to turn on a different
          side, and sometimes with even hours of lying partly awake wondering when sleep
          will ever come and if the night will ever end.

          This is what it is like for me when I sleep in a hammock in the middle of the
          winter.

          All in all, it is a wonderful way spend a portion of the hours of life given to
          me. It is a wonderful way to live.

          Risk




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        • subypower
          risk you are scaring me ....lol now to the gun talk which i brought up in the first place: BTW as a person who believes in individual rights but also in gun
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
            risk you are scaring me ....lol

            now to the gun talk which i brought up in the first place:
            BTW as a person who believes in individual rights but also in gun
            safety ... if you dont know how to use a gun safely and as close to
            the letter of the law as you can dont use one at all. it does not
            matter if you know how to use a fire arm you must make the dicision
            to USE a fire arm in self defence. as a part time instuctor ( unpaid
            just something i think i must do as a fire arm owner ) i dont even
            recommend people owning guns till they are taught to use em safely

            ps i have been in 2 situations where a gun has been used to possibly
            stop violance involving me while camping, once by me once by some one
            else

            white knight
          • Robert Moore
            Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
              Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice pair of down pants but Santa should remove that temptation :_)
              A couple of good points being made in the overall gist of this thread, foremost testing before wilding which leads to an important question to the most learned of the group-I guess that is you Ed and Risk....a hammock repair kit-what would be in it for each type of hammock????
              See I was thinking I have several systems now that are functional and comfortable, but if in the middle of the night the belly of my HH or Crib blew out then I would be in trouble, then wondered what would I have on hand to repair.....what got me thinking about this was a pipe lesson I was giving this afternoon, my young student asked what happens if the bag busts- I told her that if the bag busts the show is over...............
              Also some thoughts on the gun thing....I have been held at gunpoint on the AT, while doing the Big Bald section....that was probably my third time from Sam's GAp to Spivey Gap, and the lunatic wanted my stuff. I told him he could take my stuff and I would die (it was a balmy 12 degrees on Big Bald that day) or he could shoot me and I would die, I told him to choose, turned around and walked down the trail....I have since done that section 14 more times (I am destined to section hike the AT over and over and over), do I own a gun? yes, many. Do I carry while hiking? no, too damned heavy! My thinking is this-33 years of AT hiking and only one encounter with a freek lunatic, what are the odds of it happening again.....now when sea kayaking in Florida and S.Carolina you can be assured at the minimum will be a Pony Pocketlite under the spray skirt if not a big bore Glock....
              p.s.

              Coy <starnescr@...> wrote:
              Thanks Rick, I enjoyed the philosofical(sp?) instead of scientific
              approach. 

              I remember a night year before last thinking along similar lines. 
              Not qute that crazy though LOL.  I do remember thinking,  "You are
              an idiot,  you could be at home in a warm bed snuggled next to your
              wife but no your out here in 16 deg weather freezing your butt
              off".  Oh, and if you are in a Ponderosa,  the gun might not be a
              bad idea. Wink.

              Coy Boy

              --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, ra1@i... wrote:
              > Winter Thinking
              >
              > The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great
              deal of
              > thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of
              it is purely
              > emotional in a primordial way. I have sometimes been challenged to
              write a
              > little more about my feelings than my findings. As a
              scientist/engineer that is
              > not always easy. However, that is what this post is all about.
              >
              > The thought of going out into the cold and sleeping in a hammock
              can be quite
              > daunting. Yes, I reassure my son, I know it is completely safe. If
              I begin to
              > shiver I will come in. I will escape to the warmth provided by a
              big warm house.
              > And those words reassure me too.
              >
              > Somewhere in my primitive defense mechanisms, words of warning
              scream though the
              > rational thought pattern. "You are going to die in the cold," my
              brain whispers
              > to me. "You are going to get sleepy and never wake up." So, in
              response, I pick
              > up the hammock, the quilt, and some additional insulation into my
              arms. I step
              > into the frosty world of swirling wind, crunchy snow underfoot and
              realize the
              > little hairs inside my nose are freezing to one another with each
              breath. In
              > this environment I will spend a night, trusting the materials I
              have put
              > together with my own hands to keep me safe, even if not
              comfortable.
              >
              > Why? Well, it all started when a friend who would be going with me
              to the
              > Boundary Waters Canoe Area asked me to make sure the hammock stuff
              would work
              > well on our mid-summer's trip. I recognized the look in his eyes.
              I have had the
              > same look when considering a trip to the wilderness with a
              friend. "Is he going
              > to drag me down? Is he going to be begging for extra food? Is he
              going to be
              > miserable and even beg to go home early because he has not thought
              through the
              > implications of his choice of gear?" The thought went something
              like this: If I
              > can spend comfortable nights across the worst of Ohio's April with
              the gear, I
              > should be able to do anything the border lakes can throw at me in
              August.
              >
              > Exactly how this snowballed (sorry for the pun) into sleep systems
              for Ohio's
              > January, I really don't know. Maybe a few too many testosterone
              molecules got
              > lodged in some wacky part of my primitive brainstem... But last
              year I started
              > seeing how cold I could go. Whenever I think rationally about it,
              the devotion
              > to this cold problem in a hammock seems quite un-rational. Too
              bad! It, like the
              > figurative mountain, is there and begs to be climbed. The
              realization that no
              > one else has ever been this path before is part of the adventure.
              The
              > realization that there is a reason no one has been this path
              before is just
              > something I stick in the TravelPod as extra insulation...it is
              like a bunch of
              > dry leaves.
              >
              > The result finds me, again, swinging between two trees in a 15 mph
              wind, with an
              > air temperature hovering around 20. I feel quite snug, even smug,
              lying there
              > looking into the sky through the little slit in the Travel Pod.
              >
              > Some nights, the sky is as clear as interstellar space. I again
              look to my
              > childhood friend, Orion, and name his stars. Up and to the left is
              the beautiful
              > red tinted Beetle Juice (I use the phonetic spellings here just
              for fun) and her
              > cold blue twin Rigel down and to the right. How a single
              constellation ended up
              > with so many beautiful objects has always amazed me and is a
              powerful reminder
              > that random groups are not homogeneous. Random distributions, in
              fact, are often
              > wonderfully complex with beautiful clumpings of splendor. Back to
              the upper
              > right of Orion is that Amazon Woman named Bellatrix. How I again
              thank God that
              > my wife is not like her! To the lower right is the misnamed Saiph
              or sword.
              > Between Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) and Bellatrix is the fainter
              Meissa, easy to
              > overlook when the sky is obscured by moon glow. The beautiful
              stars of the belt
              > are there: Alnitac, Alnilam, and Mintaka. I use my last name
              (Allnutt) to
              > remember the beginning of the first two. The suffixes come to be
              because there
              > once was a great Air Force command called the Tactical Air Command
              (TAC) and
              > because my sheep in the back yard each began as a winter born
              lamb. I look at
              > the structure of M42 in the sword and judge the clarity of the sky
              by how much
              > of the cloud I can see with my bespeckled glasses.
              >
              > Other nights, the moon shines partly obscured by clouds through
              the waving
              > branches of the trees over my head. I try to concentrate on the
              movement of the
              > limbs, thinking about how much of the motion is due to my swinging
              and how much
              > is due to the limbs moving in the air. In the cold, the limbs
              sometimes crack as
              > the water in their thin skins freeze and then the ice breaks with
              a sudden
              > movement of the limb in the wind. I worry a little about them
              coming down and
              > spearing my abdomen, my life ending in a pool of coagulating and
              freezing blood,
              > alone. It begins a singsong washing back and forth between the
              melancholy
              > sterility of the emotions of winter and the logical improbability
              of any such
              > event. I know I probably will not die this way. It is much more
              likely I would
              > simply be badly wounded and crawl bleeding into the house. Small
              comfort as I
              > look up again at the cold moon through the branches.
              >
              > Then there is the thought that this pod around the hammock will be
              my shroud.
              > When will I wake with ice infesting the whole zipper? Will I be
              able to push the
              > zipper through the ice, or will I have to resort to pulling the
              cloth apart at
              > the seams. How well did I build the seams? Will I be able to get
              enough grip to
              > break the threads? Should I have carried a knife to be with me so
              I can slit my
              > way out? What about a gun, as has been suggested? Will some
              demented creature,
              > man or beast, decide on this improbable cold night to attack me
              for warmth, or
              > food, or out of meanness? Maybe it will be for my warm down quilt
              that they will
              > sacrifice me on the cold black altar of death.
              >
              > With pleasant thoughts as these, I drift off to sleep. Dreams of
              cold caves and
              > trees and warm lakes and summer breezes run through the dreams.
              Getting up to do
              > the necessary at midnight and again at 2 or 3 AM, I wonder that I
              am so warm;
              > and that I get cold as fast as I do. Back in the protective covers
              I warm up
              > again and feel kinship with my kind that have been able to survive
              winter for
              > these many generations. I wonder how many of them tried to do so
              in a hammock
              > and how many of them would have thought me daft for trying. So
              great a cloud of
              > witnesses debate about the merits of my thinking as I drift off to
              sleep again...
              >
              > And so it goes. Sometimes with only a few interruptions to turn on
              a different
              > side, and sometimes with even hours of lying partly awake
              wondering when sleep
              > will ever come and if the night will ever end.
              >
              > This is what it is like for me when I sleep in a hammock in the
              middle of the
              > winter.
              >
              > All in all, it is a wonderful way spend a portion of the hours of
              life given to
              > me. It is a wonderful way to live.
              >
              > Risk



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            • Robert Moore
              Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
                Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice pair of down pants but Santa should remove that temptation :_)
                A couple of good points being made in the overall gist of this thread, foremost testing before wilding which leads to an important question to the most learned of the group-I guess that is you Ed and Risk....a hammock repair kit-what would be in it for each type of hammock????
                See I was thinking I have several systems now that are functional and comfortable, but if in the middle of the night the belly of my HH or Crib blew out then I would be in trouble, then wondered what would I have on hand to repair.....what got me thinking about this was a pipe lesson I was giving this afternoon, my young student asked what happens if the bag busts- I told her that if the bag busts the show is over...............
                Also some thoughts on the gun thing....I have been held at gunpoint on the AT, while doing the Big Bald section....that was probably my third time from Sam's GAp to Spivey Gap, and the lunatic wanted my stuff. I told him he could take my stuff and I would die (it was a balmy 12 degrees on Big Bald that day) or he could shoot me and I would die, I told him to choose, turned around and walked down the trail....I have since done that section 14 more times (I am destined to section hike the AT over and over and over), do I own a gun? yes, many. Do I carry while hiking? no, too damned heavy! My thinking is this-33 years of AT hiking and only one encounter with a freek lunatic, what are the odds of it happening again.....now when sea kayaking in Florida and S.Carolina you can be assured at the minimum will be a Pony Pocketlite under the spray skirt if not a big bore Glock....
                p.s. Still

                Coy <starnescr@...> wrote:
                Thanks Rick, I enjoyed the philosofical(sp?) instead of scientific
                approach. 

                I remember a night year before last thinking along similar lines. 
                Not qute that crazy though LOL.  I do remember thinking,  "You are
                an idiot,  you could be at home in a warm bed snuggled next to your
                wife but no your out here in 16 deg weather freezing your butt
                off".  Oh, and if you are in a Ponderosa,  the gun might not be a
                bad idea. Wink.

                Coy Boy

                --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, ra1@i... wrote:
                > Winter Thinking
                >
                > The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great
                deal of
                > thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of
                it is purely
                > emotional in a primordial way. I have sometimes been challenged to
                write a
                > little more about my feelings than my findings. As a
                scientist/engineer that is
                > not always easy. However, that is what this post is all about.
                >
                > The thought of going out into the cold and sleeping in a hammock
                can be quite
                > daunting. Yes, I reassure my son, I know it is completely safe. If
                I begin to
                > shiver I will come in. I will escape to the warmth provided by a
                big warm house.
                > And those words reassure me too.
                >
                > Somewhere in my primitive defense mechanisms, words of warning
                scream though the
                > rational thought pattern. "You are going to die in the cold," my
                brain whispers
                > to me. "You are going to get sleepy and never wake up." So, in
                response, I pick
                > up the hammock, the quilt, and some additional insulation into my
                arms. I step
                > into the frosty world of swirling wind, crunchy snow underfoot and
                realize the
                > little hairs inside my nose are freezing to one another with each
                breath. In
                > this environment I will spend a night, trusting the materials I
                have put
                > together with my own hands to keep me safe, even if not
                comfortable.
                >
                > Why? Well, it all started when a friend who would be going with me
                to the
                > Boundary Waters Canoe Area asked me to make sure the hammock stuff
                would work
                > well on our mid-summer's trip. I recognized the look in his eyes.
                I have had the
                > same look when considering a trip to the wilderness with a
                friend. "Is he going
                > to drag me down? Is he going to be begging for extra food? Is he
                going to be
                > miserable and even beg to go home early because he has not thought
                through the
                > implications of his choice of gear?" The thought went something
                like this: If I
                > can spend comfortable nights across the worst of Ohio's April with
                the gear, I
                > should be able to do anything the border lakes can throw at me in
                August.
                >
                > Exactly how this snowballed (sorry for the pun) into sleep systems
                for Ohio's
                > January, I really don't know. Maybe a few too many testosterone
                molecules got
                > lodged in some wacky part of my primitive brainstem... But last
                year I started
                > seeing how cold I could go. Whenever I think rationally about it,
                the devotion
                > to this cold problem in a hammock seems quite un-rational. Too
                bad! It, like the
                > figurative mountain, is there and begs to be climbed. The
                realization that no
                > one else has ever been this path before is part of the adventure.
                The
                > realization that there is a reason no one has been this path
                before is just
                > something I stick in the TravelPod as extra insulation...it is
                like a bunch of
                > dry leaves.
                >
                > The result finds me, again, swinging between two trees in a 15 mph
                wind, with an
                > air temperature hovering around 20. I feel quite snug, even smug,
                lying there
                > looking into the sky through the little slit in the Travel Pod.
                >
                > Some nights, the sky is as clear as interstellar space. I again
                look to my
                > childhood friend, Orion, and name his stars. Up and to the left is
                the beautiful
                > red tinted Beetle Juice (I use the phonetic spellings here just
                for fun) and her
                > cold blue twin Rigel down and to the right. How a single
                constellation ended up
                > with so many beautiful objects has always amazed me and is a
                powerful reminder
                > that random groups are not homogeneous. Random distributions, in
                fact, are often
                > wonderfully complex with beautiful clumpings of splendor. Back to
                the upper
                > right of Orion is that Amazon Woman named Bellatrix. How I again
                thank God that
                > my wife is not like her! To the lower right is the misnamed Saiph
                or sword.
                > Between Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) and Bellatrix is the fainter
                Meissa, easy to
                > overlook when the sky is obscured by moon glow. The beautiful
                stars of the belt
                > are there: Alnitac, Alnilam, and Mintaka. I use my last name
                (Allnutt) to
                > remember the beginning of the first two. The suffixes come to be
                because there
                > once was a great Air Force command called the Tactical Air Command
                (TAC) and
                > because my sheep in the back yard each began as a winter born
                lamb. I look at
                > the structure of M42 in the sword and judge the clarity of the sky
                by how much
                > of the cloud I can see with my bespeckled glasses.
                >
                > Other nights, the moon shines partly obscured by clouds through
                the waving
                > branches of the trees over my head. I try to concentrate on the
                movement of the
                > limbs, thinking about how much of the motion is due to my swinging
                and how much
                > is due to the limbs moving in the air. In the cold, the limbs
                sometimes crack as
                > the water in their thin skins freeze and then the ice breaks with
                a sudden
                > movement of the limb in the wind. I worry a little about them
                coming down and
                > spearing my abdomen, my life ending in a pool of coagulating and
                freezing blood,
                > alone. It begins a singsong washing back and forth between the
                melancholy
                > sterility of the emotions of winter and the logical improbability
                of any such
                > event. I know I probably will not die this way. It is much more
                likely I would
                > simply be badly wounded and crawl bleeding into the house. Small
                comfort as I
                > look up again at the cold moon through the branches.
                >
                > Then there is the thought that this pod around the hammock will be
                my shroud.
                > When will I wake with ice infesting the whole zipper? Will I be
                able to push the
                > zipper through the ice, or will I have to resort to pulling the
                cloth apart at
                > the seams. How well did I build the seams? Will I be able to get
                enough grip to
                > break the threads? Should I have carried a knife to be with me so
                I can slit my
                > way out? What about a gun, as has been suggested? Will some
                demented creature,
                > man or beast, decide on this improbable cold night to attack me
                for warmth, or
                > food, or out of meanness? Maybe it will be for my warm down quilt
                that they will
                > sacrifice me on the cold black altar of death.
                >
                > With pleasant thoughts as these, I drift off to sleep. Dreams of
                cold caves and
                > trees and warm lakes and summer breezes run through the dreams.
                Getting up to do
                > the necessary at midnight and again at 2 or 3 AM, I wonder that I
                am so warm;
                > and that I get cold as fast as I do. Back in the protective covers
                I warm up
                > again and feel kinship with my kind that have been able to survive
                winter for
                > these many generations. I wonder how many of them tried to do so
                in a hammock
                > and how many of them would have thought me daft for trying. So
                great a cloud of
                > witnesses debate about the merits of my thinking as I drift off to
                sleep again...
                >
                > And so it goes. Sometimes with only a few interruptions to turn on
                a different
                > side, and sometimes with even hours of lying partly awake
                wondering when sleep
                > will ever come and if the night will ever end.
                >
                > This is what it is like for me when I sleep in a hammock in the
                middle of the
                > winter.
                >
                > All in all, it is a wonderful way spend a portion of the hours of
                life given to
                > me. It is a wonderful way to live.
                >
                > Risk



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                hammockcamping-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com






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                New Yahoo! Photos - easier uploading and sharing

              • Robert Moore
                Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice
                Message 7 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
                  Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice pair of down pants but Santa should remove that temptation :_)
                  A couple of good points being made in the overall gist of this thread, foremost testing before wilding which leads to an important question to the most learned of the group-I guess that is you Ed and Risk....a hammock repair kit-what would be in it for each type of hammock????
                  See I was thinking I have several systems now that are functional and comfortable, but if in the middle of the night the belly of my HH or Crib blew out then I would be in trouble, then wondered what would I have on hand to repair.....what got me thinking about this was a pipe lesson I was giving this afternoon, my young student asked what happens if the bag busts- I told her that if the bag busts the show is over...............
                  Also some thoughts on the gun thing....I have been held at gunpoint on the AT, while doing the Big Bald section....that was probably my third time from Sam's GAp to Spivey Gap, and the lunatic wanted my stuff. I told him he could take my stuff and I would die (it was a balmy 12 degrees on Big Bald that day) or he could shoot me and I would die, I told him to choose, turned around and walked down the trail....I have since done that section 14 more times (I am destined to section hike the AT over and over and over), do I own a gun? yes, many. Do I carry while hiking? no, too damned heavy! My thinking is this-33 years of AT hiking and only one encounter with a freek lunatic, what are the odds of it happening again.....now when sea kayaking in Florida and S.Carolina you can be assured at the minimum will be a Pony Pocketlite under the spray skirt if not a big bore Glock....
                  p.s. Still no

                  Coy <starnescr@...> wrote:
                  Thanks Rick, I enjoyed the philosofical(sp?) instead of scientific
                  approach. 

                  I remember a night year before last thinking along similar lines. 
                  Not qute that crazy though LOL.  I do remember thinking,  "You are
                  an idiot,  you could be at home in a warm bed snuggled next to your
                  wife but no your out here in 16 deg weather freezing your butt
                  off".  Oh, and if you are in a Ponderosa,  the gun might not be a
                  bad idea. Wink.

                  Coy Boy

                  --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, ra1@i... wrote:
                  > Winter Thinking
                  >
                  > The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great
                  deal of
                  > thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of
                  it is purely
                  > emotional in a primordial way. I have sometimes been challenged to
                  write a
                  > little more about my feelings than my findings. As a
                  scientist/engineer that is
                  > not always easy. However, that is what this post is all about.
                  >
                  > The thought of going out into the cold and sleeping in a hammock
                  can be quite
                  > daunting. Yes, I reassure my son, I know it is completely safe. If
                  I begin to
                  > shiver I will come in. I will escape to the warmth provided by a
                  big warm house.
                  > And those words reassure me too.
                  >
                  > Somewhere in my primitive defense mechanisms, words of warning
                  scream though the
                  > rational thought pattern. "You are going to die in the cold," my
                  brain whispers
                  > to me. "You are going to get sleepy and never wake up." So, in
                  response, I pick
                  > up the hammock, the quilt, and some additional insulation into my
                  arms. I step
                  > into the frosty world of swirling wind, crunchy snow underfoot and
                  realize the
                  > little hairs inside my nose are freezing to one another with each
                  breath. In
                  > this environment I will spend a night, trusting the materials I
                  have put
                  > together with my own hands to keep me safe, even if not
                  comfortable.
                  >
                  > Why? Well, it all started when a friend who would be going with me
                  to the
                  > Boundary Waters Canoe Area asked me to make sure the hammock stuff
                  would work
                  > well on our mid-summer's trip. I recognized the look in his eyes.
                  I have had the
                  > same look when considering a trip to the wilderness with a
                  friend. "Is he going
                  > to drag me down? Is he going to be begging for extra food? Is he
                  going to be
                  > miserable and even beg to go home early because he has not thought
                  through the
                  > implications of his choice of gear?" The thought went something
                  like this: If I
                  > can spend comfortable nights across the worst of Ohio's April with
                  the gear, I
                  > should be able to do anything the border lakes can throw at me in
                  August.
                  >
                  > Exactly how this snowballed (sorry for the pun) into sleep systems
                  for Ohio's
                  > January, I really don't know. Maybe a few too many testosterone
                  molecules got
                  > lodged in some wacky part of my primitive brainstem... But last
                  year I started
                  > seeing how cold I could go. Whenever I think rationally about it,
                  the devotion
                  > to this cold problem in a hammock seems quite un-rational. Too
                  bad! It, like the
                  > figurative mountain, is there and begs to be climbed. The
                  realization that no
                  > one else has ever been this path before is part of the adventure.
                  The
                  > realization that there is a reason no one has been this path
                  before is just
                  > something I stick in the TravelPod as extra insulation...it is
                  like a bunch of
                  > dry leaves.
                  >
                  > The result finds me, again, swinging between two trees in a 15 mph
                  wind, with an
                  > air temperature hovering around 20. I feel quite snug, even smug,
                  lying there
                  > looking into the sky through the little slit in the Travel Pod.
                  >
                  > Some nights, the sky is as clear as interstellar space. I again
                  look to my
                  > childhood friend, Orion, and name his stars. Up and to the left is
                  the beautiful
                  > red tinted Beetle Juice (I use the phonetic spellings here just
                  for fun) and her
                  > cold blue twin Rigel down and to the right. How a single
                  constellation ended up
                  > with so many beautiful objects has always amazed me and is a
                  powerful reminder
                  > that random groups are not homogeneous. Random distributions, in
                  fact, are often
                  > wonderfully complex with beautiful clumpings of splendor. Back to
                  the upper
                  > right of Orion is that Amazon Woman named Bellatrix. How I again
                  thank God that
                  > my wife is not like her! To the lower right is the misnamed Saiph
                  or sword.
                  > Between Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) and Bellatrix is the fainter
                  Meissa, easy to
                  > overlook when the sky is obscured by moon glow. The beautiful
                  stars of the belt
                  > are there: Alnitac, Alnilam, and Mintaka. I use my last name
                  (Allnutt) to
                  > remember the beginning of the first two. The suffixes come to be
                  because there
                  > once was a great Air Force command called the Tactical Air Command
                  (TAC) and
                  > because my sheep in the back yard each began as a winter born
                  lamb. I look at
                  > the structure of M42 in the sword and judge the clarity of the sky
                  by how much
                  > of the cloud I can see with my bespeckled glasses.
                  >
                  > Other nights, the moon shines partly obscured by clouds through
                  the waving
                  > branches of the trees over my head. I try to concentrate on the
                  movement of the
                  > limbs, thinking about how much of the motion is due to my swinging
                  and how much
                  > is due to the limbs moving in the air. In the cold, the limbs
                  sometimes crack as
                  > the water in their thin skins freeze and then the ice breaks with
                  a sudden
                  > movement of the limb in the wind. I worry a little about them
                  coming down and
                  > spearing my abdomen, my life ending in a pool of coagulating and
                  freezing blood,
                  > alone. It begins a singsong washing back and forth between the
                  melancholy
                  > sterility of the emotions of winter and the logical improbability
                  of any such
                  > event. I know I probably will not die this way. It is much more
                  likely I would
                  > simply be badly wounded and crawl bleeding into the house. Small
                  comfort as I
                  > look up again at the cold moon through the branches.
                  >
                  > Then there is the thought that this pod around the hammock will be
                  my shroud.
                  > When will I wake with ice infesting the whole zipper? Will I be
                  able to push the
                  > zipper through the ice, or will I have to resort to pulling the
                  cloth apart at
                  > the seams. How well did I build the seams? Will I be able to get
                  enough grip to
                  > break the threads? Should I have carried a knife to be with me so
                  I can slit my
                  > way out? What about a gun, as has been suggested? Will some
                  demented creature,
                  > man or beast, decide on this improbable cold night to attack me
                  for warmth, or
                  > food, or out of meanness? Maybe it will be for my warm down quilt
                  that they will
                  > sacrifice me on the cold black altar of death.
                  >
                  > With pleasant thoughts as these, I drift off to sleep. Dreams of
                  cold caves and
                  > trees and warm lakes and summer breezes run through the dreams.
                  Getting up to do
                  > the necessary at midnight and again at 2 or 3 AM, I wonder that I
                  am so warm;
                  > and that I get cold as fast as I do. Back in the protective covers
                  I warm up
                  > again and feel kinship with my kind that have been able to survive
                  winter for
                  > these many generations. I wonder how many of them tried to do so
                  in a hammock
                  > and how many of them would have thought me daft for trying. So
                  great a cloud of
                  > witnesses debate about the merits of my thinking as I drift off to
                  sleep again...
                  >
                  > And so it goes. Sometimes with only a few interruptions to turn on
                  a different
                  > side, and sometimes with even hours of lying partly awake
                  wondering when sleep
                  > will ever come and if the night will ever end.
                  >
                  > This is what it is like for me when I sleep in a hammock in the
                  middle of the
                  > winter.
                  >
                  > All in all, it is a wonderful way spend a portion of the hours of
                  life given to
                  > me. It is a wonderful way to live.
                  >
                  > Risk



                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  hammockcamping-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com






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                  Do you Yahoo!?
                  New Yahoo! Photos - easier uploading and sharing

                • Robert Moore
                  Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 18, 2003
                    Implying that one could be held up for sleeping in a Ponderosa...well what about my Versalite? Personally, if I was going to rob someone it would be for a nice pair of down pants but Santa should remove that temptation :_)
                    A couple of good points being made in the overall gist of this thread, foremost testing before wilding which leads to an important question to the most learned of the group-I guess that is you Ed and Risk....a hammock repair kit-what would be in it for each type of hammock????
                    See I was thinking I have several systems now that are functional and comfortable, but if in the middle of the night the belly of my HH or Crib blew out then I would be in trouble, then wondered what would I have on hand to repair.....what got me thinking about this was a pipe lesson I was giving this afternoon, my young student asked what happens if the bag busts- I told her that if the bag busts the show is over...............
                    Also some thoughts on the gun thing....I have been held at gunpoint on the AT, while doing the Big Bald section....that was probably my third time from Sam's GAp to Spivey Gap, and the lunatic wanted my stuff. I told him he could take my stuff and I would die (it was a balmy 12 degrees on Big Bald that day) or he could shoot me and I would die, I told him to choose, turned around and walked down the trail....I have since done that section 14 more times (I am destined to section hike the AT over and over and over), do I own a gun? yes, many. Do I carry while hiking? no, too damned heavy! My thinking is this-33 years of AT hiking and only one encounter with a freek lunatic, what are the odds of it happening again.....now when sea kayaking in Florida and S.Carolina you can be assured at the minimum will be a Pony Pocketlite under the spray skirt if not a big bore Glock....
                    p.s. Still no reply

                    Coy <starnescr@...> wrote:
                    Thanks Rick, I enjoyed the philosofical(sp?) instead of scientific
                    approach. 

                    I remember a night year before last thinking along similar lines. 
                    Not qute that crazy though LOL.  I do remember thinking,  "You are
                    an idiot,  you could be at home in a warm bed snuggled next to your
                    wife but no your out here in 16 deg weather freezing your butt
                    off".  Oh, and if you are in a Ponderosa,  the gun might not be a
                    bad idea. Wink.

                    Coy Boy

                    --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, ra1@i... wrote:
                    > Winter Thinking
                    >
                    > The long nights of winter and hammock experiments allow me a great
                    deal of
                    > thinking time. Some of that time is very productive, and some of
                    it is purely
                    > emotional in a primordial way. I have sometimes been challenged to
                    write a
                    > little more about my feelings than my findings. As a
                    scientist/engineer that is
                    > not always easy. However, that is what this post is all about.
                    >
                    > The thought of going out into the cold and sleeping in a hammock
                    can be quite
                    > daunting. Yes, I reassure my son, I know it is completely safe. If
                    I begin to
                    > shiver I will come in. I will escape to the warmth provided by a
                    big warm house.
                    > And those words reassure me too.
                    >
                    > Somewhere in my primitive defense mechanisms, words of warning
                    scream though the
                    > rational thought pattern. "You are going to die in the cold," my
                    brain whispers
                    > to me. "You are going to get sleepy and never wake up." So, in
                    response, I pick
                    > up the hammock, the quilt, and some additional insulation into my
                    arms. I step
                    > into the frosty world of swirling wind, crunchy snow underfoot and
                    realize the
                    > little hairs inside my nose are freezing to one another with each
                    breath. In
                    > this environment I will spend a night, trusting the materials I
                    have put
                    > together with my own hands to keep me safe, even if not
                    comfortable.
                    >
                    > Why? Well, it all started when a friend who would be going with me
                    to the
                    > Boundary Waters Canoe Area asked me to make sure the hammock stuff
                    would work
                    > well on our mid-summer's trip. I recognized the look in his eyes.
                    I have had the
                    > same look when considering a trip to the wilderness with a
                    friend. "Is he going
                    > to drag me down? Is he going to be begging for extra food? Is he
                    going to be
                    > miserable and even beg to go home early because he has not thought
                    through the
                    > implications of his choice of gear?" The thought went something
                    like this: If I
                    > can spend comfortable nights across the worst of Ohio's April with
                    the gear, I
                    > should be able to do anything the border lakes can throw at me in
                    August.
                    >
                    > Exactly how this snowballed (sorry for the pun) into sleep systems
                    for Ohio's
                    > January, I really don't know. Maybe a few too many testosterone
                    molecules got
                    > lodged in some wacky part of my primitive brainstem... But last
                    year I started
                    > seeing how cold I could go. Whenever I think rationally about it,
                    the devotion
                    > to this cold problem in a hammock seems quite un-rational. Too
                    bad! It, like the
                    > figurative mountain, is there and begs to be climbed. The
                    realization that no
                    > one else has ever been this path before is part of the adventure.
                    The
                    > realization that there is a reason no one has been this path
                    before is just
                    > something I stick in the TravelPod as extra insulation...it is
                    like a bunch of
                    > dry leaves.
                    >
                    > The result finds me, again, swinging between two trees in a 15 mph
                    wind, with an
                    > air temperature hovering around 20. I feel quite snug, even smug,
                    lying there
                    > looking into the sky through the little slit in the Travel Pod.
                    >
                    > Some nights, the sky is as clear as interstellar space. I again
                    look to my
                    > childhood friend, Orion, and name his stars. Up and to the left is
                    the beautiful
                    > red tinted Beetle Juice (I use the phonetic spellings here just
                    for fun) and her
                    > cold blue twin Rigel down and to the right. How a single
                    constellation ended up
                    > with so many beautiful objects has always amazed me and is a
                    powerful reminder
                    > that random groups are not homogeneous. Random distributions, in
                    fact, are often
                    > wonderfully complex with beautiful clumpings of splendor. Back to
                    the upper
                    > right of Orion is that Amazon Woman named Bellatrix. How I again
                    thank God that
                    > my wife is not like her! To the lower right is the misnamed Saiph
                    or sword.
                    > Between Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) and Bellatrix is the fainter
                    Meissa, easy to
                    > overlook when the sky is obscured by moon glow. The beautiful
                    stars of the belt
                    > are there: Alnitac, Alnilam, and Mintaka. I use my last name
                    (Allnutt) to
                    > remember the beginning of the first two. The suffixes come to be
                    because there
                    > once was a great Air Force command called the Tactical Air Command
                    (TAC) and
                    > because my sheep in the back yard each began as a winter born
                    lamb. I look at
                    > the structure of M42 in the sword and judge the clarity of the sky
                    by how much
                    > of the cloud I can see with my bespeckled glasses.
                    >
                    > Other nights, the moon shines partly obscured by clouds through
                    the waving
                    > branches of the trees over my head. I try to concentrate on the
                    movement of the
                    > limbs, thinking about how much of the motion is due to my swinging
                    and how much
                    > is due to the limbs moving in the air. In the cold, the limbs
                    sometimes crack as
                    > the water in their thin skins freeze and then the ice breaks with
                    a sudden
                    > movement of the limb in the wind. I worry a little about them
                    coming down and
                    > spearing my abdomen, my life ending in a pool of coagulating and
                    freezing blood,
                    > alone. It begins a singsong washing back and forth between the
                    melancholy
                    > sterility of the emotions of winter and the logical improbability
                    of any such
                    > event. I know I probably will not die this way. It is much more
                    likely I would
                    > simply be badly wounded and crawl bleeding into the house. Small
                    comfort as I
                    > look up again at the cold moon through the branches.
                    >
                    > Then there is the thought that this pod around the hammock will be
                    my shroud.
                    > When will I wake with ice infesting the whole zipper? Will I be
                    able to push the
                    > zipper through the ice, or will I have to resort to pulling the
                    cloth apart at
                    > the seams. How well did I build the seams? Will I be able to get
                    enough grip to
                    > break the threads? Should I have carried a knife to be with me so
                    I can slit my
                    > way out? What about a gun, as has been suggested? Will some
                    demented creature,
                    > man or beast, decide on this improbable cold night to attack me
                    for warmth, or
                    > food, or out of meanness? Maybe it will be for my warm down quilt
                    that they will
                    > sacrifice me on the cold black altar of death.
                    >
                    > With pleasant thoughts as these, I drift off to sleep. Dreams of
                    cold caves and
                    > trees and warm lakes and summer breezes run through the dreams.
                    Getting up to do
                    > the necessary at midnight and again at 2 or 3 AM, I wonder that I
                    am so warm;
                    > and that I get cold as fast as I do. Back in the protective covers
                    I warm up
                    > again and feel kinship with my kind that have been able to survive
                    winter for
                    > these many generations. I wonder how many of them tried to do so
                    in a hammock
                    > and how many of them would have thought me daft for trying. So
                    great a cloud of
                    > witnesses debate about the merits of my thinking as I drift off to
                    sleep again...
                    >
                    > And so it goes. Sometimes with only a few interruptions to turn on
                    a different
                    > side, and sometimes with even hours of lying partly awake
                    wondering when sleep
                    > will ever come and if the night will ever end.
                    >
                    > This is what it is like for me when I sleep in a hammock in the
                    middle of the
                    > winter.
                    >
                    > All in all, it is a wonderful way spend a portion of the hours of
                    life given to
                    > me. It is a wonderful way to live.
                    >
                    > Risk



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                  • Shane Steinkamp
                    ... To head these discussions off, I have prepared the following: www.theplacewithnoname.com/hiking/sections/gear/guns.htm Shane
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 21, 2003
                      > do I own a gun? yes, many. Do I carry while hiking? no, too
                      > damned heavy!

                      To head these discussions off, I have prepared the following:

                      www.theplacewithnoname.com/hiking/sections/gear/guns.htm

                      Shane
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