I love my old hammock. In fact the company that made my hammock, Byer of Maine changed the design but my old version is still better. The problem at hand was that there is a beautiful field of grass that didn’t actually have trees and I was tired. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of trees around, but the problem with trees is that they block the amazing, panoramic view of the night sky. A view that makes one utter, “I can’t believe how many stars there actually are.” A view that makes the four inch screen on my cell phone seem a tad paltry. I remember camping with my friends family once and the amazement on their kids faces when they were told the little blinking lights that moved slow slowly across the sky were actually satellites. Mom later confessed to me that this led to a lot of googling when they returned home and she was forced to learn a few things she didn’t really want, or need to know about satellites.
Now you might say to yourself, “No Problem, just sleep out under the stars!” Well, yes, that would be ideal but this is Florida and I have found from experience, that sleeping out under the stars in Florida leads to very damp mornings. All that moisture in the air condenses over night and makes anything that is left uncovered wet by sunrise. The trick tonight would be how to make a tent without a tent and I had an idea how to do it. I’m in the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve, West Track, just east of Zephyrhills, Florida. Down the trail lies the NcNeil campground with a stream, a pump for ground water and toilets. I won’t be going that far though because I’m tired. This perfect field I just found will be the lodging for this evening, the grass will be the carpet and the starry night sky will be replacing the movie, no electricity needed.
I took my tarp which is actually a painter’s plastic drop cloth from Home Depot, propped it up with a couple of sticks and some rope and Tada, a lean to. I then laid my hammock inside while holding up the mosquito netting using the same two sticks and it’s perfect. In goes the sleeping bag, a book that I can’t seem to finish and my lodging is complete! Moving on to the next task, a small fire to place my grill on and hopefully the steak defrosting in my backpack will be thawed by dusk, restaurant reservation made.
After a great meal and a little clean up, the next item on the agenda is to reserve my front row seat for the upcoming twilight movie that will be taking place over my head. I locate my seat on a perfect patch of grass ensuring my backpack will perform its secondary function as part recliner. All the adjustments are made and I settle into my easy chair to see how many satellites I can spot in one night. One last glance at my phone to ensure it is off because I hate it when a cell phone disrupts the movie.