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The 2017 Great Miami Outfitters “Frozen Butt Hang”

There are many things I love in life. One of those is hammock camping. Another is hanging out with good friends. This was our second “Frozen Butt Hang” for myself and my friends Joe and Robb–two longtime friends of mine who also love the outdoors. While it turned out to not be very frozen, we had a fantastic time.

The frozen butt hang is put on each year by Great Miami Outfitters (http://greatmiamioutfitters.com), a local camping/outdoor store located in Miamisburg, Ohio. GMO is one of my absolute favorite places to shop, as they easily rival (or even exceed) big-box stores like REI and Cabela’s. The owner and employees are great people, and they do a great job putting on this event. 2017 was the seventh annual occurrence of this event, and my second.

We started out the adventure with a great lunch and some brews at a local establishment called Mudlick Tap House. This little brewpub has some of the best food and beer around, and it’s only a few miles from the park. After a few craft beers and soup/sandwiches, we were on our way to Germantown Metropark–specifically, Shimp’s Hollow group campsite–to begin our adventure.

Germantown Metropark is a fantastic and wild little spot located in Southwestern Ohio. Here, there are giant, old-growth forests, a rushing creek, and steep hillsides. There is also lots of local wildlife, like squirrels, turkeys, Great Horned owls, bobcats, even coyotes. The park has several miles of trails ranging from very easy to difficult. The Twin Valley Trail (or TVT) goes through the heart of the park, where I traverse several sections of it each summer during the TVT Challenge.

The group campsite is the perfect place to have a group hang. There are literally hundreds of anchor points to choose from. We set up camp on a ridgetop. With all the leaves down we had a great view of the surrounding rugged terrain. We each had our own unique hammock setup and we had to compare and talk gear. Robb had a Hammock Bliss and ENO tarp, Joe had a ENO Doublenest and tarp, and I had my Hennessy Expedition Asym with deluxe tarp. Robb was excited to try out his new whoopie slings and Dutchware straps and hardware. My Hennessy is a great old standby, but I’ve had it for a while and would like to upgrade, maybe to a Dream Hammock or Warbonnet Blackbird. For now, that’s just a dream until I get ahead financially. I realized lately I’ve spent way too much modding my Jeep. Maybe I should pick one or two hobbies instead of ten. Ha ha.

Robb being himself

Robb being himself

Just hanging out

Just hanging out

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My hammock rig with some Dutchware bling

Dinner was an amazing assortment of potluck food. There were meatballs, pizza pockets, even Pad Thai. I am always so impressed with how good some people can cook at camp. I typically stick to Mountain House meals on the trail or hot dogs when car camping. To have this much selection of great food was a real treat. The assortment of side dishes and desserts was also expansive. No one went to bed hungry that night.

After dinner, the boys and I did short night hike out to a backcountry campsite. I haven’t done that much night hiking in the past, and am now convinced it’s something I need to do a lot more. To be out on the trail with just a headlamp and the light of the moon is ethereal and exhilarating. It’s an entirely different experience. The senses become a lot more heightened, and every little sound and movement is enhanced. We walked past a bush full of birds and I think all of us jumped just a little bit.

In contrast to last year’s campout, where it bottomed out at 7º F, this year it only got down to 29º, and was 38º by the time we woke. There was no snow or ice, just some blustery winds that blew through. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going to bed with cold feet, which meant the rest of my body was cold. I ended up wrapping my down jacket around my feet to get myself warmed up, and finally drifted off to sleep.

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The morning temperature from inside my hammock

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I really didn’t want to get out

Sunrise

Sunrise on top of the ridge

Morning was beautiful, with a gorgeous sunrise over the ridge. It was clear and beautiful. Joe brewed some amazing pour-over coffee with his Jetboil stove. We slowly tore down our rigs as we sipped the delicious brew and talked gear, the outdoors, and life in general. Then, we all went our separate ways–back to our families. It was a short adventure, but an adventure nonetheless. If it’s 24 hours or two weeks, make sure you take the time to get outside and live.

 

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How Do You Find Time to Go Backpacking? Part 2

This is part two of a three-part blog written by three backpackers (Dane, Rob and Lance) all answering the same question:

“How Do You Find Time To Go Backpacking?”

Finding Time To Unplug From All Things Needing A Plug

By Rob (Backpacking Adventures)

Find time to go backpacking? Time? You think I can find time?

I am a husband, and the father of two daughters ages thirteen and seventeen. My career requires about thirty weeks a year on the road. Then, there are my other hobbies of golf and playing music. There is no chance of me finding time to go backpacking…I have to MAKE time.

Actually, WE need to make time.

A number of years ago, one Saturday afternoon, I was having a glass of wine with my wife Angela, and our conversation ended up on backpacking. Her question was innocent and simple, “when was the last time you went backpacking?”

My answer was frustrating and now hard to imagine.

“I don’t think I have been on a trip since…wow, I think it was the first weekend in June!” I said in astonishment.

This realization wouldn’t have been so bad if we were having our conversation on July 27th, or August 27th or even September 27th. Instead, it was late November. The Saturday before Thanksgiving.

robThe enthusiasm that you see in my videos is genuine. I love the trail. The physical exertion, unplugging from all things needing a plug, and the sense of accomplishment all play a part in building my enthusiasm. I enjoy only having to focus on sleeping, walking, and eating. The trail is my happy place.

We are only on this great earth for but a short time, shouldn’t we be spending as much time as we can by doing what we enjoy?

Now, back to the conversation with my wife.

At some point that afternoon we agreed to the fact that when there is a goal, with a plan that makes it achievable, the goal is usually accomplished. We proved that point to ourselves by sharing examples of our own lives as well as that of our children, family, and friends. That is when it happened. Somewhere between talking about learning how to ride a bike and how to plant a garden is when my wife gave me a goal and a plan to make it happen.

robcal“At least twelve nights a year in your hammock. There are 365 of them to choose from, pick twelve” Angela said.

I sat and listened.

“You will go on one backpacking trip each of the next twelve months.

It may only be a quick overnighter to Morgan Hill (our local State Forest) or it may be a multi-day trip in the Adirondacks, but you are going to go backpacking every month. We will not be sitting here a year from now having this same conversation” she stated.

How could I argue? Why would I argue? What should I say?

“I may not be great at math, but 12 nights out of 365 isn’t a big percentage,” I said with a smile.

We continued to talk about sacrifice, support, and doing what we enjoy. Together we even figured out (with the help of a calculator) that 12 nights is just 3% of all the nights in a year.

Just 3%.

Could I commit 3% of my year to do something that I loved?

That’s how I find the time to go backpacking. My family made it a goal, a simple goal – make the time to do the things you love to do.

What % of your year are you willing to commit to doing something you love?

Please share your answer or how you find time for backpacking in a comment below.

I hope to see you on the trail,

~ Rob

Connect with Rob at Backpacking Adventures or on FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter.

Hi everybody, Rob here. I am a backpacking enthusiast who started documenting my trips via video in 2014 on my YouTube channel. This is when Backpacking Adventures was born. Since that time I have had the opportunity to interact with so many like minded people and the Backpacking Adventures community has become a very important part of my life. To learn about what we are trying to accomplish read more.


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How Do You Find Time to Go Backpacking? Part 1

This is part one of a three-part blog written by three backpackers (Dane, Rob and Lance) all answering the same question:

“How Do You Find Time To Go Backpacking?”

Make the Time to Do What You Love

By Lance (OutLan)

I have always loved camping and hiking. Since I was a little boy, my favorite thing to do was to go on hikes with my family on the trails around my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I wanted nothing more than to go camping, though my parents were never really the “outdoorsy” type. Their idea of roughing it meant getting a hotel room each summer in Gatlinburg near the Great Smoky Mountains. At the age of 10, all I wanted to do was explore those mountains–to hike, camp, and spend time deep in those woods. Backpacking, I thought, would be the way to really do it. To me, that was the answer. Unfortunately, I never got beyond the planning stages.

OutLanFast-forward to five years ago, after many years of getting tied to desk jobs, starting a family, and not being out in the woods other than car camping, my friend invited me to an overnight “survival” camping trip in November. My gear was old and not up to the task of the snow, sleet, and 18 degree temperature I experienced that night. It was both a horrible and exhilarating night, and I knew I wanted to make a regular a habit of getting outdoors. I wanted to get into backpacking. This would mean getting all new gear, gaining the experience, and making the time to do it. This, I thought, was not going to be easy.

My kids were just two years old when I came to this realization. My wife realized how badly I wanted to make this a part of my life, and reluctantly supported my crazy expenditures and weekend trips out in the woods. Being the father of twin boys, it never really felt right to leave her alone with two babies, but my wife let me go anyway. I know she was not always happy with me going out to the woods, but she also I knew it’s what I loved and was my release from the everyday stresses.

These days, there are multiple things that pull at me on a daily basis. Though my kids are older, it is just as challenging – if not more so – to get away. I have work responsibilities tugging at me almost 24/7, the kids have school and extracurricular activities, and there are the common but important household responsibilities and chores that every husband and father has to deal with. It is never easy to find the time to go backpacking, so I have to make the time. This starts with strong communication with my wife, letting her know when and where I’d like to go, and making sure there are no conflicts in our schedules. She is disinterested in backpacking, and is fine with me going off and doing it alone or with friends. To keep our schedules aligned, we make use of available technologies, like mobile apps, to sync our schedules. There is never really a convenient or “good” time to do it, but certain times are better than others, and it always comes down to timing. Not every trip comes to fruition, but the ones that do are always great.

Time is the most valuable thing we have, and though it’s sometimes hard to balance all of our priorities, it’s still important to make some time for ourselves. This year, I encourage you to try making getting outdoors a priority. Get out there, explore creation. Hike, camp, backpack, and just take in the beauty that’s around us.

Connect with Lance at The Outlan Channel or on FaceBook and YouTube.

Lance enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking, and a wide range of outdoor activities and gear. He discovered YouTube a few years ago as an infinite resource filled with other people who love the same things he does. He decided to turn his passion for photography and the outdoors into an official channel and it has become an addiction for him. He is striving to consistently produce more high-quality content and gain a larger subscriber base from whom he can learn from as well as instruct and entertain.