I got crap sleep last night in our campsite near the Oasis Visitor Center. Not because the hammock wasn’t comfy – it was actually quite nice – but it was about 70 degrees and muggy with absolutely no breeze. Despite my bug net I got bitten all over my legs and shoulders. Oh well. Made it easy to get up at dawn.

Our group arrived at Oasis, took the obligatory “start” photos by the southern terminus rock, and set off. Our group consisted of Beerman, Eagle Eye, Boxcar, Parks, Pyrite, Rollie and me. These are all trail names, which people either give themselves or are bestowed upon them. I’d given myself the name Valderi on the Ice Age Trail after the song “The Happy Wanderer,” but no one knew that song here or how to pronounce my name. I think I need a new one!

Goal: 10-Mile Camp

It was sunny and hot out, and I’d never hiked with such a heavy pack before. It was probably 20-30 pounds. The scenery was beautiful, and the trail was relatively flat, but it was hard due to the pack weight and the weather.

Our group took a break for lunch at 7-Mile Camp, where we ran into Sunshine and Trail Mix, a young hiking couple. They were just going out and back and collected our garbage to pack out so we didn’t have to carry it several more days. Sunshine also said she was going to buy my book, Thousand-Miler, as soon as it’s available. I like Sunshine! 🙂

We arrived at 10-Mile Camp, our destination, in the early afternoon. It had started raining lightly by then, which was actually quite nice because it had been so hot before. I’m proud to say I set up my hammock all by myself, and quite expertly. We filtered water for the next day at a nearby cypress dome, ate our dinner early and then headed in to sleep at 6-ish. It was already getting cold and windy.

Most hammock campers attach an underquilt to the bottom of their hammock, but the weather forecast had been for warm weather, so I hadn’t purchased one. Well, it got down to the 30s that night, our group collectively agreed, and I literally froze my buns off. I had on three tops, pants, socks, gloves and a hood. I put my feet into a stuff sack and was curled in a fetal position and still froze. A stiff wind didn’t help any. I don’t think I slept more than an hour or two. The only positive: my tarp/knots held!

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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