Nubist Colony | April 7, 8, and 9th, 2017 @ The Sipsey Wilderness-Bankhead National Forest, Alabama

What:  Sipsey Wilderness Hang

Where:  Sipsey Wilderness within Bankhead National Forest, Alabama. GPS coordinates 34.283496, -87.436103 

When: April 7-9th, 2017

The first observation I made, when pulling into Wolfpen campground in the Bankhead National Forest Friday night, was the amount of stars pin-pricking the night sky. The second- the huge bonfire! As I parked my car, I could just start to smell the smokey aroma blowing in the slight breeze. The air was crisp, refreshing and filled with laughter and excited chatter, as people enjoyed the fire and each others' company. This was a tight-knit group of campers, who hang above the ground and aren't afraid of a little dirt! 

After a night filled with the almost-melodious sounds of a rather diligent whippoorwill accompanied by a ravenous pack of coyotes lending back-up harmony, we all awoke to a gloriously beautiful sunrise and the slobbery kisses of the camp's dogs- who roamed around licking lazy hammockers awake. The rest of the day was spent hiking an amazing 8-mile trail that meandered past an old hunting lodge and majestic waterfalls. At the base of one, was a frigid, blue-hole big enough to swim in- a chilly experience many of us got firsthand! 

For many, including myself, Saturday evening was spent diffusing kittens prone to pyrotechnics, while enjoying dutch-oven lasagna and three kinds of dutch-oven cobbler. After successfully stuffing ourselves into oblivion, we went for a night-hike to a rather creepy graveyard (and I have seen my share of creepy graveyards!). 

After ambling back to sleep off our food-comas, we all snuggled into our respective hammocks to enjoy our last night to the tune of the delightful musical ensemble comprised of a randy whippoorwill and hungry coyotes. Sunday morning dawned warm and golden, while most campers packed up camp and bid adieu to their fellow travelers. There is nothing quite as magical as turning a group of strangers into a group of old friends in the space of a weekend, but I get the opportunity to experience it every time I pack my hammock and travel to a hang. Until next time old friends!