Crowley Hangout June 2012
Summertime camping can be pretty rough, especially in Florida. We decided to hold a “hangout” event to show everyone that even in the higher temps and rainy afternoons you can have a great time outdoors in the summer camping. When we planned to hold the event we were not informed that Tropical Storm Debbie would be following us home on Sunday…June 23 was also the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout, just another reason to get out and play!
Even with the blustery weather forecast we had a few hard core “campers” sign up for the weekend of educational seminars and hikes and general good time with like minded folks. We arrived and got set up under the bright hot sun of June. It was raining all around us, Tampa and Ft Meyers were really getting a lot, but we had beautiful weather. Occasionally a breeze would help cool things off a bit, but it was hot.
Crowley Museum and Nature Centernear Myakka Florida was the perfect place to hold our “Hangout” They recently opened the Indian Field Primitive Camping Area and they allow hammock camping (many state parks are just now considering allowing hammocks at 1-2 spots in some of the parks).
This is a great location for families and children with many things to see and do on the property. The trails are well maintained and there is even a nice gift shop on the property in addition to the “Cracker” style homes, General Store Museum and “cracker” cattle
The benefit of sleeping in hammocks in the summer is that you get the air circulating all around you. This really helps for comfort and in addition you are up off the ground for those guaranteed afternoon showers.
Kevin Mims (The Visit Florida Outdoors and Nature Insider) was on hand to teach beginners about setting up and properly using a hammock and he brought out various models for everyone to try out. He had a sweet ENO DoubleNest OneLink system and a Hennessy Hammockfor demo.
Saturday night we had a pot luck dinner prepared by all those camping that evening and smores around the campfire, with lots of interesting tall tales! The weather was starting to cloud up and we had pretty steady showers all night – but in those hammocks everyone stayed good and dry up off the ground! Morning came as an eerie glow. We knew our luck was not going to hold much longer. Though the rain of the evening had ceased we knew more was on its way! No waiting for breakfast, we broke camp while the weather was cooperating and all headed up to the learning center to enjoy a cup of coffee. About then the rains began. We drove home though some pretty nasty weather and hunkered down for 3 days at TS Debbie sat right on top of Tampa, Fl. We called down to check on the staff at Crowley and they had numerous trees down and the swamp waters were nearly up into the campground. Even an alligator came up to check things out we were told! We sure were lucky to get out of there high and dry!
Having the right gear always makes the trip more favorable. Having the proper technical clothing to keep you cool and dry, and the proper sleeping gear, even in the most miserable weather conditions, just adds another chapter to the adventure!