What was that sound?
Your eyes dart back and forth as your ears strain to confirm the impending mortal danger. It’s at least 9:48 PM – well past hiker midnight. You sank into the comfort of the hammock a few hours ago after covering at least 1.5 trail miles. Your trip report on Hammock Forums, and your Instagram may, or may not, eventually list that number as 12 miles, but who’s really counting?
There it is again. Was that a Yeti? It had to be a Yeti. If it wasn’t a Yeti, it was most certainly some sort of rabid beast hell-bent on slowly devouring your succulent flesh. Obviously.
Did I hang my bear bag? Can it smell those Pack-it-Gourmet Chicken and Dumplings I had for dinner? Death’s grip tightens around your neck like a noose as you run through every possible scenario. Each one ending in a fantastically gruesome scene more awful than the last.
It’s probably a Yeti. Nevermind that it’s Summer in North Carolina where there hasn’t been a confirmed Yeti sighting for at least 5 or 6 years. Billy Bob saw one a few weeks ago, but ever since he started sleeping in a tent, he can’t be trusted.
Slowly and quietly you prop up on your elbows; your ears picking apart every minute detail like Mozart listening to a symphony. Luckily, your cuben fiber tarp lets in just enough moonlight to survey the immediate surroundings. You contemplate turning on the headlamp, but you’re not 100% ready to give away your location. The enemy might still be unaware of this evening’s hang site. Plus, everyone knows male Yetis are attracted to headlamps. It could be a female. Your research has confirmed that females can’t see the particular light wave emitted by headlamps, but are you really ready to take that chance?
20 feet away a branch snaps. It’s the scariest branch snap in the history of snapping branches. This is it. At some point every man must look death square in the face and victoriously declare, “NOT TODAY!”
You lurch from your hammock managing to simultaneously unzip the integrated bug net, fire up your head lamp, and slide your feet into the Crocs waiting patiently on the ground. Grabbing a collapsible hiking pole you turn, take a knee, and ready yourself to engage the drooling death demon like King Leonidas triumphantly defying the hordes of Xerxes Persian Army.
Time stands still. Your heart races. Condensation from your hot breath clouds the cool night air. Seconds tick by before you can just make out 1, 2, 3 little fluffy baby foxes frolicking their way across the trail.
“Jim, what are you doing?” quizzes Dan’s voice from his Warbonnet hammock just a few feet away.
“Did you fall out of your hammock?” asks Brittany as she rubs her eyes from underneath her top quilt.
“What are you doing with my hiking pole? Are you ok?” your wife inquires.
The two of you were sharing a tree and you must have bumped her hammock during your perfectly executed tactical dismount.
“Did you see those little baby foxes?” She continued rolling to her side and cinching up her quilt. “They were soooooo cute, I just want to snuggle them and kiss their tiny little fox noses to death!”
“I’m fine – just had to pee” you answer dismissively. “Go back to sleep.”
The Yeti may have slipped through your grasp this time, but there’s always tomorrow night.