I was having a bad time at work and finally decided spur of the moment to take a couple days off in the middle of the week. I had been wanting to hike the Archers Fork Loop for a while. I was most attracted to the solitude. I had a bunch of self-reflection to do and didn't want to be distracted by anything.
Since this was a last minute trip, I didn't really pack or plan. I basically just threw my (so called) kit together and started driving. The trail head is four hours away, but about 1/2 an hour into the drive I hit some serious traffic for a Wednesday afternoon. Once I got close, I couldn't find the trail head. It was literally off a dirt road off a gravel road off some tiny state highway. I didn't get to the trail head until quite late.
It was still a bit light. I decided to just hike until dark and setup camp. I wasn't really in any hurry. The trail was nice. It was quiet. I could feel the stress falling off with each step.
I managed to get about two miles in before it started getting dark. I setup camp off a ridge on a slope over looking a valley of sorts. Camping on an incline didn't bother me because I'm hanging in a hammock! No muss, no fuss.
I hung the hammock and then started cooking dinner. Here's where I made a huge mistake. I cooked dinner about two feet from my hammock. I sat on a log and watched the son set. I then picked up all my trash, put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in my pack. I then hung my pack off my suspension line next to the tree. It was getting pretty dark at this point. As I was hanging my pack, I saw something kind of squirrel like climbing down the tree. I didn't think much of it. As I shined my flashlight on what ever it was, it scurried away. I kind of assumed it would stay away.
Unfortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong. That critter assaulted me all night long. I could hear it clawing at my pack. I'd shout; shine my light; it'd go away. A few minutes later I'd hear it again. So I moved my pack on my suspension line, but next to my hammock (away from the tree). Big mistake. Now this critter was climbing on my suspension line to get at my pack. I'd shout; I'd shine my light around; it'd go away. I could hear the thing on the ground scurrying around. What finally pushed me over the edge was when I could feel it touching my backside through the hammock.
I finally got up and moved my pack far away. I still couldn't sleep for quite a while. I kept listening and waiting for another assault. Eventually I fell asleep. Eventually whatever nocturnal creature that was went to bed too.
I ended up sleeping in way, way late. I enjoyed just laying there in the hammock. I could see outside there was a hornet furiously buzzing about. I'm assuming he could smell the left overs of my dinner too.
While I had planned to hike the whole loop and sleep two nights, I decided to just head home. I was super tired. I had zero desire to fight another animal another night. Maybe the second night wouldn't have been as bad. I still wasn't sure what had happened. Anyway, I turned around and hiked two miles back to my car and went home.
Since that night, I have bought an ursack with a opsack odor proof bag. It's heavy. Combined it's 8.9 ounces. I might be over reacting by using this food bag, but I like knowing it's completely critter-proof and (likely) odor proof.