6th Annual Mt. Rogers Hang

The annual Mt. Rogers hang is usually a time to test cold weather gear. Its located in the Grayson Highlands State Park Virginia. The average low for Mt. Rogers in January is around 20 degrees F, average high, 38 degrees F. The lowest recorded temperature was -26°F in 1987. So its an obvious choice to test out some winter gear, normally.

Myself and fellow hanger Happy Camper made our arrangements to attend this hang in hopes to really test our gear. What makes this a great adventure is allot of members from HammockForums.net attend this hang, its more of a car camping trip for testing gear, getting together, talking gear, sharing stories, & having a great time. Excited we both where well prepared and ready to go. As the week leading up to the hang developed we kept a close eye on the weather so we had an idea of what to expect. Well the weather was changing, seemed constantly, and not for the best. Not for the best? The weather was warming, this is not looking good for a cold weather test.

Weather report Wednesday January 18, 2012. Thursday night, low around 25, Friday, lows in the 30’s, Saturday, lows in the 40’s, and highs in the 50 come Sunday, chance of rain, very likely. This is not going to be a cold weather snowy hang, this is going to be a cool rainy hang. No worries, we had a plan and sticking to it, after all, a group hang is more than just getting out, it’s more about meeting up with old friends, new faces and having fun.

Happy Camper tearing down camp on Friday morning

Thursday January 19, 2012. Me and Happy Camper meet at 6:30 am for the 4-5 hour trip to Mt. Rogers. We are both excited to finally getting out and heading to a hang. Knowing the weather on a mountain can change in an instant we where both very prepared and threw everything and anything into the back of my Jeep, hey, this is car camping, why not. Normally 4-5 hours would be a long trip, but having great company and good conversation makes a trip like that seem short, and it did. Arriving at the foot of the mountain we stopped at the Log Cabin Restaurant for some lunch before heading up. When entering we ran into a couple more hangers, SloHike and NCPatrick, chatted a little while eating then they had to leave to meet a few more on the mountain. Me and HC finished our meals and headed up the mountain, while driving we noticed no snow, just a few little chunks here and there from a recent snow plow, other than that, bare ground. Finally making it to the camp grounds parking area there where a few more hangers already there to meet us. I’m very bad with names sometimes, some names just stick, sometimes I can’t remember a name for two seconds, but I do remember Angry Sparrow, Bonzie Hiker, and WV showing up a little later. After chatting for awhile they all gathered into vehicles to hike over Massie Gap on the AT to the Wise Shelter. Myself and Happy Camper decided to take the easy route out Seed Orchard Road up to the Wise Shelter. After a short hike we arrived at the shelter first, found us a spot and started setting up camp. The Massie Gap group showed up as me & HC was setting up, it’s always nice once you are all setup, you stand back, and admire your work. Then you make the fatal mistake of laying in the hammock to check everything, that’s when you realize you don’t want to get out. After finally climbing out of the hammock I fired up the wood stove to make a cup of coffee, that’s when I saw HC over by my setup. Not sure what she was doing I headed over to find out or answer any questions she may have concerning whatever she was looking at. As I got closer she turned out of the way and there it was, the a Jägermeister blinking shark. Our friend J.D. was thoughtful enough to mail her one to sneak onto my setup. He remembered a comment I made over on my ZPack back winter gear post on not having one of those cool blinking lights. That was back on Jan. 4th, he remembered that, I couldn’t even remember to put it in my original post. It was the best peace of gear I got all weekend, really warmed my heart, It will always be with me. After this we all shared stories, cooked our meals, and laughed around the shelter that evening finally retiring later in the night. The winds howled throughout the night, and this would be the coldest night I recorded on my cheap Wally World thermometer, 28 degrees F.

Me & Happy Camper below the Wise Shelter on Friday Morning

Friday January 20, 2012. After a windy night me & Happy Camper was up early, but very well rested. The wind blew, but not loud enough to wake a hammock camper. We found a nice little clearing in the laurel trees out of the way of any wind blowing toward Hooch, another hanger who was setup downwind of us. I use a wood burning stove, so to keep any possible smoke from entering and waking Hooch who was peacefully sleeping away, we cooked away. First off, a nice hot cup of coffee, then breakfast, a warm bag of Grape Nuts cereal with malted powdered milk and raisins. Oh man was that good. As the morning lingered, the sun made a couple short appearances and we started to break camp. Me, Happy Camper, Home Run, Grey Jay, broke camp first and heading down the trail. A nice hike back we arrived once again at the main camping area and was greeted by WV & 2Questions. WV spotted us out a nice location the night before out of the wind, that man can find those places like no other. Myself, Happy Camper, Home Run, & Grey Jay all setup in the general area, I hung my new light on the tarp line so it would easily be seen when arriving back in the dark. We then meandered up to the pavilion to meet everyone else as they arrived. Later in the day rain had set in, our fellow hanger Maztrain finally showed up along with quite a few others. Setting up in the rain is sometimes a miserable chore. After setting around the pavilion camp fire talking and listening we headed to the hammocks, which was easily found, sleep was easy with the sound of rain on the tarps.

Saturdays hike out Wilson Creek Trail. WV & Maztrain

Saturday January 21, 2012. Rain, not only did it put us to sleep, it was the first sound I heard when my sleeping mind woke. I lay there in the comfort and warmth of my hammock listening to the rain, not only a rain, but hard rain at times. All I could think about is a thru hiker, if I was actually thru hiking a trail, this would be the point at which I would have to make a decision to get up, pack up, & hike out in the rain for miles, or, lay there until it slacked up and get less miles. Seeing how I wasn’t thru hiking, I stayed in the hammock for awhile. It never did let up so wanting a cup of coffee bad enough I dragged myself out into the cold rain. On the way I stopped by Happy Campers setup to see if she wanted to join me at the pavilion for breakfast. I peered in to the open side of the tarp and in a soft tone tried to get her attention, nothing, she must still be sleeping. So I headed up the road. Guess who I found already there, HC. I was telling her about it and she confirmed that yes, she had enough gear in her hammock that made it look as though someone was in it sleeping away, funny. Later in the day a group of us, Happy Camper, WV, Ferret, Maztrain, & myself decided to do a day hike down to Wilson Creek Trail to see the falls after all the rain. It was an amazing site to see, the water was rushing by so quick and powerful. We shot some video, snapped a few pics, and decided to try hiking on out the trail to finalize the loop. While four of us looked at the map, Maztrain decided to shoot a little video of us studying the map, we did not know this, but we soon found out when he slipped over the almost vertical ledge straight to the raging stream. From our point of view it was like slow motion watching him roll on his back tumbling over the hill, we could do nothing but wonder where downstream we could possible fetch him out. Luckily Maztrain kept his wits about him while this was all happening and jammed a foot straight into the soggy bank and stopped, standing straight up about half way down. He easily climbed up the hill, trekking pole in hand with camera still attached, whew! That was a scary moments as I don’t think anyone’s heart rate was at it’s normal resting. With that all over with and a direction decided, HC didn’t want to take the chance of having to cross a possible stream that we had crossed on our way to & from Wise the previous two days. She missed a fantastic trail, it followed Wilson Creek for along way with some beautiful views of falls around every corner. We ended up not having to cross that stream, and believe me, I let HC know what a wonderful hike it was by showing her some video. Later in the day we had a fund raiser raffle with some really nice prizes, I made out very well on that wining some nice gear. Afterwards was a pot luck and group pictures, more setting around chatting in the night around the camp fire. HC had a book and warm dry hammock calling her name and left early. Shortly afterwards me and WV headed back in the light rain and fog when I reached into my pocket to check my Jägermeister light, it was out, thinking maybe the battery finally went dead I had to try it. With a push of the button it started blinking again, sweet!

Sunday January 22, 2012. FOG! Yes, very thick fog had rolled thru during the night and early morning pretty much getting everything wet. Not even a tarp prevented it from penetrating. I was using my Warbonnet Blackbird hammock with my DIY bug net cover. The previous night this thing worked out very well keeping temps inside to a noticeable difference than the outside. Had no problem with condensation ether. Well I woke this Sunday morning and noticed my cover was off at the foot end, how did that happen, now I have moisture from the fog on my top quilt. Laying there thinking of how the cover could have came off I remembered having a dream during the night. In this dream I do recall kicking something, I remember kicking hard enough that the trees I was attached to shook afterwards, just cannot remember what I kicked. Apparently I kicked hard enough to knock the Velcro fastening off the foot end of the cover. With that mystery solved I climbed out to start packing. Coffee first, and everything was damp or wet, while packing the temps started dropping below freezing and my guy lines had ice forming on them. This made for very cold hands while packing up. I also got lazy and hiked back up to the main parking area to retrieve the Jeep so we could just throw our stuff right in. We stopped by the pavilion on the way out to check for any help needed, said our farewells, then headed down the mountain to have breakfast at the Log Cabin with Hooch before leaving. We ran into a few of the others while there, had a great breakfast and conversation with Hooch, then departed only to run into the rest of the crew on the way in.

The drive home is usually a sad and lonely one when leaving a group hang, this time I had Happy Camper to keep me company and talk with. This made leaving a not so sad time, and as with the trip down, we had a great trip back home. The weather was nice the entire trip home and the company was even better. Thanks Happy Camper for riding down with me, and thank you J.D. for the gift.

14 Responses to “6th Annual Mt. Rogers Hang”

  1. BC…! Thanks for the trip report! Just wish I could have been there to see everyone. No mention of your guy line blinking warning lights……?

    BTW, the video is marked “Private” and I could not view.

    Glad you and HC had a safe trip.


    • J.D. I wish you could have been there also, always enjoy seeing and talking with you. I learned something on this trip that I have thought about before, but keep forgetting to do. Take a small note pad & pencil. Even though that little blinking light meant more to me than you know, I did forget to mention it in the wright up. I normally write these things in one short setting, not really thinking about things specifically & just type while a whirl wind of thoughts enter. More times than not, I do forget some more memorable moments. My writing skills are not the best ether, I’m sure some look at it and cringe at my blender of words. 🙂 No matter, I have fun doing it. I’m also going to start jotting stuff down on a small note pad on each trip. I do this with my hunting journals, don’t know why I don’t with my backpacking trips.

      But on the light, I was focused & curious to what HC was over there. I thought she was checking out how I did my side tie outs on the tarp, so I headed over to explain. Well before I got there she turned & I saw that light. It really did hit me with excitement & thoughts at what great thoughtful friends I have. Absolutely brightened my entire weekend. Just ask HC, after it got wet the one night & wouldn’t turn off, I carried that thing in my pocket the rest of the weekend trying to get it dry. By the way, I finally did. It will go with me every time from now on.

      Just to add a little info to the story for everyone else. In my backpack video fitting all my winter gear in J.D. mentioned the nice gear, I replied that it was basically still incomplete because I didn’t have the cool blinking light. On previous outings with J.D., he had these little blinking Jägermeister shark lights clipped to his setup, which made finding it in the night easy. Well, J.D. mailed one to Happy Camper to sneak onto my setup one night while on this Mt. Rogers hang. She did try, but I somewhat caught her, when I saw that thing, the feeling of a great friend overwhelmed me. The light is very cool, but just the thought that J.D. remembered that comment & mailed it out the way he did is what got me. That is why this little light will be with me on every trip I make from now on.

      Thank you J.D.

      P.S. The video is now fixed. I usually upload in private mode to review before I make them public, forgot to do that this time.

  2. Bear Chaser, hi!

    Great Hang Report! Somehow your writing makes me feel like I was right there.



    • Thank you MsLiz, & thank you for following along and reading. I try, sometimes.:) Hopefully I can get allot more this year. I was discussing it with Happy Camper a little about how we sometimes get stuck in a rut going to the same places we are comfortable with. This year I’m hoping to explore allot more places right here in WV. I’m still planning a few trips out of state with my friends like J.D., SBD, Oh-No, HC, Early Bird, and a few more that I have still to meet. Can’t wait for those trips.


  3. Hey MzLiz! You should join us some time!

    BC – Yep! HC is one of the best ever! Glad you liked that little light and had fun! I will bring pencil & paper for you next time……


    • I agree, MsLiz should join us sometime.

      J.D. Loved it, matter of fact I made sure to update the post to add the story behind it & how it happened. No worries on the pencil & paper, I raided the office supply cabinet & found the perfect pad. I also found a nice little golf course pencil I had in my desk. That pencil could double as fire starter. 🙂


  4. God knows… We might NEED that pencil-fire-starter if no one brings an Esbit tab!

  5. Thank you for the invitations!

    I’m a bit of a hanging beginner, thus I feel a bit shy. At the same time, my home is in Vermont (the VT in MsLizVT) and I can’t help but thinking you all should come up here sometime. There are tons of wonderful places to hang and hike.

    Now the other thing that I hope you don’t mind me sharing is, a good part of the summer I’m on an old motorcycle traveling. It’s not a Harley, just an old German bike, that’s set up to carry just about everything I need to camp out. Even going to the store for groceries, I always have my Hennessy and gear on the bike. Is that silly?

    • Mz Liz – Don’t be shy. In many ways, we are all beginners. Time, Distances, Gasoline prices (!!!) all make getting together “problematic”. Even our little group… Well, is the phrase “Herding Cats” familiar…… Got to ASK! Your “German bike” – BMW? No, being packed and ready to go is ALWAYS a good thing!

      Where are you “traveling” this Summer?

      • Agree with J.D., it is like herding cats with everyones schedules, distances apart and such. It’s tough trying to find locations somewhat centrally located for us all to get together.

        MzLiz, it’s not silly at all, you just one step closer to being ready than I am. My stuff isn’t packed, but I keep it all in one location & ready to go at a moments notice. Most of the time, I just pack up the night before, or the morning of, and head out. No plans, just go, I’m too spontaneous to actually make a plan. Bad thing is if I do have plans made, I worry I’ll forget something. Now that’s silly.

  6. what is MzLiz’s bike? cool! 🙂 BC that was simply sublime! wonderful report and video. i, too treasure J.D. and his Jagermeister fish! your writing is imaginative and i enjoyed reading it.
    it’s good you had such great company driving down with HC! i feel that way having driven for hours with Oh-No. i cherish such fine friends like yourself.

  7. ps your pictures are beautiful!!

  8. Wow BC, great write up thanks for sharing. Don’t ever worry about how you write, it’s very readable, entertaining, and tells a great story.
    You folks are truly an amazing group of friends.
    JD- you out did yourself this time buddy. Well done.
    BC- love the video and the great music you always attach to them.
    Reading this report, looking at the pictures, and reading all the replies,
    has got me itching to get out in the woods again, hopefully soon eh?

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