American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Monday, August 11, 2008

Claytor Jungle Hammock

I've been airing out my Claytor Jungle Hammock and tarp in the side yard and the kids have been spending quite a bit of time playing in and around it.

Normally I run the tarp with a ridgeline underneath but decided this time to pitch it with shorter ropes at either end attached to the trees. This uses less cordage, weighs marginally less, and for less knot tying and (possibly) a faster pitch. What the missing ridgeline does for me is to give a nice clean line on the peak of the tarp. Without it the tarp takes on an arc with a lower center which is pulled lower by the tie-outs.

It was supposed to be a clear night and, as I'd already swept off, hosed off, and dried out the tarp, I decided to pull it, fold it, and put it away while leaving the hammock up.

The bug netting needs a ridgeline (or something anyway) to tie to if you want to sleep with the netting off your face. I put up a quick paracord ridgeline and attached the netting.

Then it occurred to me that a lesson could be had for the kids who were insistent upon playing with the hammock.

We climbed inside to relax and, as dusk was coming quickly, we started to discuss how bug netting worked, how the double layer of material plus the foam pad would prevent mosquito bites, and how exhaled CO2 would bring the little biters. We started counting as the first mosquitoes landed on the bug netting and, within about 20 minutes, they were thick on the netting and flying near the hammock. Three breathing bodies in a confined space would do that I suppose.

After a short while Jake decided that he'd had enough and wanted to go into the house. Laura and I shook the netting to disperse the mosquitoes, Jake unzipped the netting, and jumped out to make a run for the house as I zipped the hammock back shut.

Laura and I stayed for a while longer before she, too, was bored and wanted to go in. Again we shook the netting and made a run for it. I decided to put a different stick in the foot end netting to hold it open and in the 10 seconds it took me to get it "installed" I had a mosquito on my shoulder, one on my face, another on the side of my neck, one on my right leg, and one on my left foot.

I managed to do a decidedly uncool maneuver to disperse them while only sustaining one bite and then I ran for the house.

I really, really dislike mosquitoes--more-so now that I seem to have developed a sensitivity to repellents. The good news, I suppose, is that they're on their downward run now. Soon they'll all be gone for the season and I'll still be out there.

Thanks for reading,



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