Fat Biking 1:33:00  9.4 mi (9:54 / mi)
It was mid-70s here yesterday, and the house was up to 77 inside by evening. With overnight temps dropping from 60 to 47 (not for another hour - it's nice when the overnight low is 3 hours after you wake up!), it seemed like a perfect night to try out the new camping hammock. After a picnic dinner on a nearby hill with Jori and Jess, I loaded up the fatbike with hammock, underquilt, and sleeping bag, and then waited around for it to get really dark. The Pest instinctively knew that adventure was brewing, and had to be lured away from the bike several times before I could slip away.
Set out at 8:45 into a moonless night, in balmy conditions. Despite my effort to go slow and not get overheated, I was sweating in shorts and t-shirt by the time I reached the grove where I intended to camp. Along the way I passed a couple deer grazing in an open field, and encountered another set of glowing eyes right where I was going to bed down for the night. I actually continued on for a bit until the eyes turned and dashed off, confirming I'd be sharing the spot with a young deer and not some coyote hungry for hammock burritos.
Took about 20 minutes to set up camp in the darkness, and then I settled into what seemed like a hanging sauna. I was still putting out a lot of heat, and when I unzipped the top cover to vent out, I was looking up at a starry sky through the bare-leaved trees. I get the appeal of hammock camping now! Drifted off pretty easily while gazing up at the stars and listening to the noise of the forest (and the muffled, low, background noise from the highway).
Woke up a number of times throughout the night, with my butt and back getting cooler - I'm not sure this cheap underquilt is up to the task. I was enjoying the forest noises and the connection to the surroundings, so I skipped the earplugs. With them in, and with a little bit more insulation on my back, I think I would have slept quite nicely through the night.
At 5AM I emerged from my cocoon, packed my bags, and was on the trail 20 minutes later. Passed three more deer in the darkness, and then dawn began to break. Decided to loop in some extra miles instead of heading straight home, and passed a bunny in the dewy grass on my way to a short break at the heron rookery. Made it home just in time for a hot breakfast of eggs and toast, with some much-needed coffee!