Wednesday, March 7, 2012

1 night with Machete Mike

We all know someone who "knows everything" someone who is always right, argumentative, and stubborn. For some reason or another, I thought I'd left them all in society... wrong! I guess they are everywhere. I think of myself as a non -argumentative person, someone who avoid confrontation. Don't get me wrong I have an opinion but have learned over the years to just keep it to myself, unless it involves tim tebow, the florida gators, or pickles (all of which I would be happy to never hear about again). But I digress, after hiking 7/10ths of a mile with 700 vertical feet gained in 20 minutes. I saw a sign that said shelter 1.2 miles as the sun was setting and the temperature dropping I booked it to Whitley Gap Shelter making it there right as the sun dropped below the horizon. I was happy to see a fire upon my arrival, and thought nothing of the only other person there digging a hole next to a tree. With a 3 foot machete... he introduced him self as night walker and asked where I was from, after explaining Knoxville but Denver now he asked if I knew Lumpy? A strange question to which I responded no, and he told me he hated Lumpy because he tried to make him buy a sleeping bag at Neel's Gap. Apparently Machete Mike
aka night walker did not have, want or need a sleeping bag much to Lumpy's chagrin. Feeling the temp. dropping, and sensing this would be my coldest night yet I asked Machete Mike if he planned on placing rocks in the fire, then his hole and sleeping on that, which he was and proceeded telling me how the natives used to use this trick. He was unsure however, as to how deep to bury the rocks, I suggested 6-8 inches which he told me was much to deep and dug his hole about 3 inches deep 5 feet long. As I was cooking he explained how he was ex military, and that he wanted his own survival show so he was video taping everything he did because no one ever believed him. He then told me he lost his flashlight, and half his food, and how Lumpy would not sell him a flashlight after the shop was closed... working in retail I understand there is nothing worse than someone showing up 5 minutes after we close demanding service. He also told me that last year on the trail he was attacked by a bear, which I'm sure was a great story but not one I wanted to hear. I asked instead if he planned on hiking the whole trail, which he answered yes but I have a feeling I won't make it. Which I also left alone, he proceeded to tell me how he was right all the time which I agreed with, and decided on that note to go to bed. I felt strangely comfortable knowing that Machete Mike was there to fend off any wild creatures with his 3 foot machete, and quite nervous that I might wake up with a 3 foot machete in my back. 10 minutes later I heard Machete Mike yell, I quickly rolled over to see him hopping around with a finger in his mouth and a grimace. I asked him if he was ok, he told me he burned his hand on one of the rocks he put in the fire, and then reported to me that they were indeed, hot. I covered my head with my sleeping bag and had a quiet chuckle as I drifted to sleep. I was awakened again at 5:30 to the sound of Machete Mike filming his "bed" and explaining that the more the wind blew the more it stoked the fire and the warmer he got. I rolled over and thought of one last piece of advice Machete Mike gave me the night before, if your feet are warm the rest of your body can take care of itself. I wouldn't be terribly disappointed to have that be my last encounter with Machete Mike.

1 comment:

  1. Poor Machete Mike...May your travels be filled with brighter days