After hiking with Lindsey for the past 600 miles I have learned many things about her. The most important thing I’ve learned is that Lindsey loves waking people up. She has perfected the art of the “Rise and Shine”. She has three techniques that she has mastered: The Lindseyquake, The Rooster, and The Ear Plug. These techniques are only performed in shelters and in the company of other hikers.
The first technique in Lindsey’s “Rise and Shine” arsenal is the Lindseyquake. The process of Lindsey getting into her ‘sleeping clothes’, sleeping bag liner, and sleeping bag could be a Cirque De Sole headline act. At bedtime there is jumping, swooping, bending, reaching, swaying, and then silence. She has found maximum comfort, or so the shelter dwellers think. But then sometime around 2 or 3 am it happens. Something in Lindsey’s sleeping accommodations is bothering her. It is time for adjustments. It is time for the Lindseyquake. First I hear the quiet swooosh of air. The swoosh created when Lindsey, defying gravity and physics, levitates her body off the ground to make an adjustment in the depths of her sleeping bag. She hangs in the air for five seconds until satisfied and then WHAM, her tiny frame plummets back to shelter floor creating a thunderous thud. Any hikers from California are grabbing for their earthquake kits and silently saying to themselves that the ‘big one’ has finally hit. Lindsey is back to quietly snoozing as the rest of the shelter wonders what has just happened. A 6.8 on the Richter Scale
Shortly after the quake the Rooster crows. I am sound asleep dreaming of cheeseburgers, IPAs, and sitting in comfy chairs when my suddenly I can feel Lindsey’s eyes anxiously staring at me, prying my eyes open with hers and tearing me away from my dreams. I fight back, trying desperately to return to the juicy burger, but it is pointless. The sun has risen and so has Lindsey. We are surrounded by other happily dreaming hikers, exhausted from their previous days exertions, but little do they know the Rooster has risen. It’s time to get up.
First alarm is the stuffing of sleeping bags into stuff sacks…no biggie…not a stir yet. Don’t worry, she has more in her artist’s bag. The deflating of the air pads is next. This might not seem so bad, but in a quite shelter the sudden rush of air escaping its enclosure might as well be a fog horn. Now that’s more like it. People are stirring, but alas…they fight on, still dreaming away. Next it is breakfast time. What could normally be accomplished with little noise, Lindsey brings to life with a symphony of banging pots, dropping lids, hissing stoves, crumpling paper, and scraping utensils.
Everyone is now teetering on the edge of dream world and real world. Our packs are on and I think we have gotten out of there without waking the shelter up completely. Foolish me. Lindsey unleashes her grand finale. Neatly lined up against the shelter wall leans twenty or so trekking poles, also in deep slumber dreaming of the things they will poke in the coming day, when Lindsey attacks! She grabs her poles and sets off a cascade of falling metal sticks. Just like dominoes, once one goes they all go. The noise is astounding. Scraping, clanking, banging, rattling, etc. She has done it! Her masterpiece completed. The Rooster has cockadoodledooed.
The Ear Plug
So as not to be awoken from her slumber Lindsey wears ear plugs at night. When the ear plugs are in both Lindsey and I sleep. Without them I would be woken up to check on every rustle in the leaves. This is all fine and dandy except when I stir to go pee or adjust my sleeping position. Any movement of mine is accompanied by Lindsey asking “What are you doing?” or “Where are you going?” at a decimal to compensate for the fact that she can not hear her voice. It sounds more like this…”WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”. I respond whispering, “To pee”…”WHAT?”…”To the bathroom”…”WHAT DID YOU SAY?”… Oh what the hell..”TO GO PEE”…”OK”…back to snoozetown she goes. Now the entire shelter is aware that it is time for Kyle to go pee-pee.
This is typically a nightly occurrence, but five nights ago at the top of Mt Rogers, Lindsey created an Ear Plug masterpiece. Mt Rogers and the surrounding Grayson Highlands is a stunning area and proud owner of a herd of wild ponies. Up to this point our wildlife count was one turtle, two turkeys, one black snake, and a herd of cows plotting to take over the world. Needless to say we were stoked by the thought of seeing large wild mammals other than hikers. Alas, as we approached to top of the mountain a low cloud bank settled in and we went to bed, ponieless. Three am rolls around and I am awoken by a pony right outside the shelter entrance licking rocks that littered the shelter grounds (yes ponies lick rocks). I was elated. I nudged Lindsey and in my quietest, yet most excited voice, whispered “Hey babe, there is a pony outside!” Keep in mind the ear plugs were functioning and functioning well. What seeped through the ear plug fibers into Lindsey’s ears was “Hey babe, there is a bear outside waiting to eat everyone in the shelter…will you please sound the alarm!” Lindsey sprung into action. She leaped to her knees, verified that the tiny pony shrouded in mist was in fact a bear, then began shouting obscenities, clapping hands, and frantically waking all thirty hikers – okay, more like twelve – from their quite slumber. The tiny pony slowly turned around, no doubt with a huge smile on its face and meandered away, leaving havoc in its tiny pony wake. The event has become legend and earned Lindsey a new trail name: PonyBear.
PonyBear, a true master in the art of “Rise and Shine”, coming to a shelter near you.