We are taking an unexpected break from The Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN due to the loss of my rain gear on trail. However, this is not the adventure I am preparing to relate to you but merely the means by which I am able to write to you.
Tuesday, Pete and I snowshoed over eight foot drifts on a seven mile trip over Clingmans Dome, the highest point on the AT. It was grueling and tiring and wonderful. But, this is also not the adventure I am preparing to relate to you.
My most recent adventure happened the night of our Clingmans assent in the quiet and dark of our sanctuary, the shelter. My adventure begins with the barely perceptible skittering of a rodent and ends with a vole attempting to find a toasty home for the night in my sleeping bag.
I woke at two AM to find that our timid shelter companion from earlier in the evening was now crawling rather aggressively on my face. After waking and startling poor Vinny the Vole off my face, he then tried to find a home at my side in my sleeping bag.
It's at this time that I start shouting, "Eaaaaoooow, get it out, get me out of the bag, it's in here..." while dancing the mad dance of panic of a person stuck in her sleeping bag with an unwelcome companion.
Pete woke to this racket thinking that I was being attacked by a bear or boar. He was disappointed to find that it was only a rodent nesting in my bag with me.
Needless to say, on the trail we usually fear the cold and the bears. What we never expected to have to deal with is the penchant of shelter rodents to take issue with is sleeping in their home.
In the end, Vinny the Vole and I made peace and parted ways. I wish him well but hope never to have such a close encounter again.
I will post again after we've made it out of The Smokies.
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