Buffalo River Trail: South Boxley to Ponca

12:13 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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I did the south Boxley to Ponca section of the BRT this weekend. I have a full trip report with pictures at www.geocities.com/east_stingray/index.html

 

Last link on the page.

5:59 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for the trip report, I enjoyed the photos.

The Ozarks bear a strong resemblance to the Appalachians, where I backpack.

I enjoyed seeing the fog, it is an ever present element in the areas I go to, and I have learned to enjoy it. It has been said before that even if you have no water, you can open your freeze dried food pouch, turn it into the fog and return to a meal in a couple hours.

I have never tried it, just a modern folk tale I guess.

I also noticed some cane growing in your photos, was that mostly near the creeks?

6:27 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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No, that picture was actully not anywhere near a creek, and they were mostly dry anyway. I didn't realize I had posted it twice until you said something.

6:55 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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So did the whole area seem dry? I mean how was the soil, damp or dry?

One of the ways I've found to spot creeks from a distance when the creek may be obscured from view, is to look for Cane or Rhododendron in heavy concentrations in areas that look as if there could be a creek there.

Just something I like to do while I'm at an area (overlook) that affords me a view of the land.Sometimes there is no creek, or it is a dry tributary. Sometimes I find a creek that is a pretty cool place to camp and is not on the map.

Most of my friends don't like to go exploring as much as I do so it is mostly something I do solo. I also like to look for Ginseng and Venus Fly Trap, so I found it interesting that you noted the mushroom you saw.

I'm glad you had a good trip, tell me again which hammock you have?

7:34 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Looks like you had a nice weekend. I enjoyed your pictures. I've done the BRT from Ponca to Pruitt a few times, but not the section from South Boxley. I'll have to include it on my hike planned for the BRT in January.

I too, enjoy a nice cigar at least once during a hike. Usually in camp while relaxing after supper with a cup of coffee.

I'm anxious to hit the trails which I'll do beginning next month. Thanks for sharing your hike here.

9:58 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Venus fly trap, huh? If I remember correctly, those are only found in about a 30-sq mile area in... South Carolina? Is that right? I should know this... there's a whole mess of the little boogers growing out on my deck.

The soil was damp because it had just been raining, but the buffalo area is usually dry this time of year. The upper river was completely dry at boxley bridge, whereas it was gigantic when I was there in February. I noted the mushrooms mainly because I love to eat them! Morels, puffballs, and best of all, hen of the woods. I've yet to see any morels down here, but I still have a big gallon ziplock of dried ones I brought down from IL. Morel season usually corresponds with finals, so I always seem to miss it since med school started.

I'm using a warbonnet hammock, and as far as I'm concerned the search ends there. It's the freaking cadillac of backpacking hammocks, and Brandon is a great guy who makes the gear HIMSELF in THIS COUNTRY. He made that tarp too.

 

Hutch: I would like to enjoy my cigar in camp, but I don't really have anything to sit on except my hammock, and I'd never forgive myself if I ashed a hole in it. Also I've found that as soon as I stop moving the bugs find me, so I usually try not to until I'm safe inside my cadillac... er.. hammock.

11:55 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Well E Stingray, I see your point, I definitely wouldn't want to burn my bed down with an errant hot ash. I usually hike in winter which eliminates the bug problem for me.

You have "sparked" and interest with me however regarding your hammock. I've been intending do some research on hammocks and just never got started. I'm going to check out the warbonnet hammock and tarp. I'm just not sure I could sleep well in one. I normally sleep on my side and turn frequently. Do you mainly need to be a back sleeper to use a hammock?

8:22 p.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Not at all. I'm a side sleeper, and I thrash like it's my job. You have to take a smidge more care when turning than when on the ground, but it's by no means difficult. I find that I don't thrash as much in the hammock anyway because it's so comfortable that I fall asleep and don't wake up. Some hammocks aren't as good for side sleeping, but the warbonnet is great.

I'm a very light sleeper, and I rarely got more than a few hours on the ground until about day 4 of a trip when I was so exhausted it didn't matter anymore. I've only been using the hammock since about March, but I'll never sleep on the ground again if I can help it.

For more info than you can shake a stick at, check out www.hammockforums.net. Brandon, the guy who makes warbonnet hammocks, is a member there, and you'll find lots of good discussion on the pros and cons of different brands of hammocks.

8:51 p.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Yes east stingray, the Venus Fly Trap grows in parts of SC, NC mostly, and in N. Florida & New Jersey.

I have a Hennessey hammock and love it for warm weather camping. Personally I can sleep on a rock, so I like the space a tent offers during winter. I can lay out my stuff, study the map etc.

The JRB Bridge hammock is supposed to be good for side sleepers too, but I haven't read any reviews. What do you know about it?

I am glad your hammock is working so well for you!

9:56 p.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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I know the bridge is expensive compared to the warbonnet ($200 vs $160ish), heavier (37oz vs 28ish), and has a velcro-on bugnet which I suspect would be a pain in the arse to use and prone to failure after repeated use. The warbonnet bugnet is sewn into the hammock nylon which means you can't leave it at home in the winter, but I would suspect it's also less prone to fail and doesn't require you to join velcro together without leaving gaps (in the dark, when you're wet/cold, etc.).

I've never seen the bridge in person, let alone used one, but it just didn't appeal to me when compared to what the warbonnet was offering.

9:59 p.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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For what it's worth, I also have a Hennessey (the Ultralight backpacker model), and it is nowhere near as spacious and comfortable as the Warbonnet. It is lighter, but that's about the only advantage it has. Brandon has a strap system that just blows away the hennessey rope and tree hugger system for ease and quickness of setup and ease of adjustability.

11:31 p.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks guy's for the hammock input. I did read some reviews later last night and agree that based on what I have read the Warbonnet Blackberry would be the way to go. Plus, the shelf would be handy for whatever.

I'll checkout the hammock forum you suggested. Another concern I have is that I do just about all of my backpacking in winter, which being elevated off the ground would make it considerably colder, but a good pad might offset any big difference. I'm sure I can get some input on that from the hammock forum.

For now, I'm looking forward to trying out my new Big Agnas Copper Spur UL 2 on my trip coming up in Oct.

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