June 12, 2015


The Great Smoky Mountains are a super popular place to backpack. They're also evidently a super popular place for bad things to happen, according to the news last weekend. So far, a mother/son duo got lost and had to be rescued by rangers, the body of an experienced hiker was found, and a kid got attacked by a bear while sleeping in his hammock.

The likelihood of anything bad happening - that bad, anyway - is so small that I practically don't need to worry about it.  Be careful, yes.  Lie awake at night with my heart racing, no.  I talked previously about how I'm scared of being scared, so I'm trying to take measures to prevent that.  Practicing sleeping in my hammock, for instance. 

The other night, I took this pretty lady out for her maiden voyage. I mean, I've used my hammock before, but this was the first time I'd slept in it. I tied Bix underneath me, hung it up nice and high, and slept the night away.  It's funny, I'd woken up with my neck killing me from sleeping funny the two mornings before, but that day (Wednesday) I woke up feeling fine. It did feel strange to be so awake at six a.m. with the sun and the birds and Bixby giving me a "Mom, what did we just DO?" look, but I felt well-rested. I woke up once or twice during the night, once to pee and once because Bixby was yelling at something, but I went right back to sleep both times. He did really well. He dug around some and made a little dirt nest to sleep in and stayed still, as far as I could tell anyway, for most of the night.
So: I like sleeping in a hammock, I think I'm going to do it, I had major hesitations after the kid was attacked in his hammock, but the reality is that it's no safer than a tent and it's a heck of a lot lighter. Bixby might not be so enthusiastic, but I think he'll get used to it, and may even feel safer where he can see things.