Sometime around 1994 or 1995 a couple of my buddies and I went on a camping trip in the bayous of Orangefield, which is just north or Bridge City, Texas. It was like any of the other dozens of trips we had been on, expect for the amount of snakes we saw on that trip.
We pulled the 14 foot aluminum boat up to the bank. The first guy stepped out, walked about 15 feet, and stepped over an armadillo hole. Sticking out of the hole was the tail of a rather large water moccasin. That was the first snake we had to deal with.
That evening, after the sun had gone down, we decided to go walking around the woods just outside the camp site. The three of us came up to a slew – which was like a mud flat. As we moved the beam of the flashlights across the bank and the mud, my buddies and I could see the water moccasins coiled up waiting on frogs. It was a rather eerie sight to say the least.
At that time, my buddies and I usually used just a ground cloth and a sleeping bag. But the idea of a water moccasin (or 2) crawling into my sleeping bag at night was enough to get me into a tent or into a hammock.
That slew where we saw the water moccasins was just 60, 80 or maybe 100 feet from our camping site. So its a good possibility that one of the snakes could have crawled into our camp site during the night.
And then there are the other bugs. If you have never been to a marsh, its a rather lively place – to say the least. Some of the spiders get as big as a grown mans fist. The ticks can be as big as pencil erasers.
So its not “just” the snakes that got me off the ground, its a long list of things that go bump in the night. And creatures you do not want in your sleeping bag with you.
There was this one time I remember very clearly. Those same two buddies and I were on a camping trip, maybe 1/2 a mile from where we saw all the snakes that night. But on this trip we had brought a 3 man dome tent. The next morning, after eating some breakfast I started rolling up the tent. I was on my knees rolling the tent up and getting it ready to put it into its bag. When I stood up, looked down and there was a spider about 2 inches across on my crotch. I slapped the spider off my pants and onto the ground.
Then I started to think about what if we had slept outside the tent last night. Would that spider have crawled into one of our sleeping bags as we slept?
There is also the weight factor. Hammock camping allows my pack to be lighter, as compared to having to bring a tent. The lighter my pack, the more enjoyable the trip is.
Post your comments in this hammock camping thread of the forums.