Van Mouse

Climbing - - THE CLIMB THAT ONE TIME - BY JUSTEN SJONG, AS TOLD TO KEVIN COR­RI­GAN

CHRIS WEI­D­NER AND I were in Zion Na­tional Park in 2006 try­ing to link Moon­light But­tress, Spaceshot, and Touch­stone Wall, all free in 24 hours. We’d get up in the mid­dle of the night to climb Moon­light by head­lamp, then Touch­stone Wall in the morn­ing, and fin­ish on Spaceshot. While train­ing that win­ter, we slept out­side the park in our re­spec­tive vans at a camp­ground that’s now closed. Since it was mid­week and freez­ing cold, we fig­ured we were the only peo­ple there.

One night while sleep­ing “up­stairs” in my van’s cam­per top, I heard the pit­ter-pat­ter of a mouse scur­ry­ing about and munch­ing on crumbs. Mice aren’t su­per loud, but they’re loud enough. Re­mote camp­sites seem to have th­ese ro­dents that crawl into your van, base­camp for awhile, then leave. They drive me nuts! I could hear this one close to my stove, so I was ready with my head­lamp and some­thing to throw. Every time I saw it, I jumped out of bed and chased it down. This went on all night, but I never caught the mouse—I’ve never caught one of those things.

The next morn­ing while mak­ing cof­fee, I no­ticed a pa­per plate on my wind­shield with a $5 bill at­tached. There was a note writ­ten on the plate: “Thanks for the show last night. Here’s a tip.” With com­plete dark­ness out­side and a bright light in­side the van every time I started chas­ing that mouse, com­bined with the fact that I hap­pen to sleep naked … I slowly connected the dots. It turned out we weren’t alone in that camp­ground.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.