Some people believe that hammocks are good for two places: vacation spots and the backyard. Over the year of owning my own hammock, I’ve hung it (and seen others) hand it in very high places. Here’s my list of the 5 oddest places I have seen or hung a hammock.
I’ll start off with my bottom of my list with a twist on the ordinary. A few years ago, I was spending the day at the library doing a paper. My words per hour started sinking, so I decided to take a walk outside to try and get those creative juices flowing again. A short walk turned into a desire to do cartwheels and after a few, I splatted happily on the warm summer grass under the shade of an oak tree. As I looked at the magnificent tree, I noticed around twenty feet up was a girl in a hammock. Somehow she had climbed up, latched her hammock to some strong overhead branches and was just chilling. Respect girl, respect!
On a Mountain
Did you know high altitude hikers and mountain climbers are big fans of hammocks? Well, it makes sense. People have been known to move a few feet around when sleeping in a bag. Of course, when you are on a mountain a few feet turns into a few hundred feet...downhill...pretty quickly. I learned about this when my first advisor told me about his trip to Mount Everest. During his climb, he would break up the adventure by sleeping in a hammock at night. Apparently, the wind would push against the hammock, only to be stopped by the bulk the mountain; a very thrilling experience.
In a Navy Ship
Travelers and hammocks have a cool history together. In the 1950s, US Naval ships used hammocks instead of beds to keep sailors safe. Prior to the change in sleeping choice for sailors, a few would fall out of their bed and die every so many years. This in turn led to adoption of hammocks for another group of US employees.
In the Lunar Module
During the Apollo program, Astronauts spend days on the moon. In order to make them more comfortable for resting hammocks were provided. Astronauts also elected to use them to sleep between moonwalks as opposed to beds. Maybe the next time I’m dozing in my hammock, I’ll have to imagine what it was like to have just come back from a moon walk!
On the Football Practice Field
To be fair, I was responsible for this one. I had just started dating my current partner and college was quickly depleting my bank account. I had suggested we take my hammock down to the green field around the fitness center and eat chips while we read aloud World War Z together. The green field was an open field surrounded by a line of trees that was open to students to exercise or relax. We left a little later than expected and arrive with probably an hour and half of reading time left. We wandered around the green field. The trees were smaller than we remember or placed too close together. We tried to hang my hammock up but it had so much slack on it that it touched the ground once both of us got in.
There were some good laughs but the amount of pink in the sky indicated we were running out of time. Eventually he suggested that we cut our losses and try again another day. But I was stubborn. I looked around, trying to figure out how to work it. I passed a few of the same trees again, wondering if some miracle of engineering would help. And then I realized there was nothing in this field.
So, I dragged him over to the practice football field that is kind of, sort of in theory accessible to us to use since we were students. I had a plan. There was a giant light pole that I hit to make sure it wasn’t hollow. Then, I convinced my date to help my drag one of the pieces of equipment football players use to practice their tackles. It was a wonderfully heavy piece of machinery- even if the height wasn’t ideal.
We tied up my hammock on these pieces, with the end on the light pole placed much higher. When we got in, the metal creaked but gave no other signs of protest. It wasn’t perfect- our feet were only about two and a half feet off the ground but we spent the remaining light swapping turns narrating our book between mouthfuls of chips. We eventually gave up when there seemed no chance for the light pole to turn on. We untied everything and pushed the tackle equipment back to its original place. And then hurried back to the car before we got caught by the campus police.
I still rate that as one of our better dates. Maybe we should look at doing that again...