What Do Mice Do In Their Free Time?

The First Week

It’s been over a week of trail life. I’ve met tons of people – some who are still hiking and some who have already quit. I’ve finally found a group of people to travel with – not quite a tramilly yet, but close. They’ve laughed at my failed attempts to throw my bear bag line over branches for repeated nights, so we’re getting to that level.

So far, I’ve only had one day of solid rain. And one night of storms and rain. I’ve been lucky with blue skies and sun. Nights have been cold and sometimes without much sleep.

Extra Company in the Shelter

Last night was the most challenging so far. Fog, Big Ben and I knew it was supposed to rain during the night, so we grabbed spots in the shelter. Surprisingly no one else seemed to want shelter spots, so we had it to ourselves until a couple arrived and took up some space. Still – all was fine – we all had space and knew our tents weren’t going to be wet. After going through the whole night routine of cooking, packing up bear-bags, brushing teeth, and hanging the bear-bags, the shelter was ready to say goodnight. Lights were off, everyone was tucked in and getting comfy. I know shelters usually have mice, but I wasn’t ready for what was coming.

Are They Going to Eat Me?

Not only were there little mouse feet pitter-pattering all around me, but I could audibly hear them chewing on things. I lay there in my quilt, petrified. What if they were running on my stuff? Were they going to get into my quilt? So nice bite people? There were so many thoughts racing through my head. I started to wonder where the mice hangout when they weren’t scampering around the shelter…I pictured their nest and their day to day lives. By this point I was completely freaked out, cowering in my quilt, with my sleeping bag liner up and over my head. I checked the time and saw that it was only 9:45pm. I had almost nine more hours to be sleeping and I knew I couldn’t do it in that shelter.

Late Night Adventures

At 10pm in the pitch black, I grabbed my backpack and went to pitch my tent. After the tent was poorly pitched on an awful, slanted piece of real estate I went to grab my sleeping pad and quilt. I hustled back to my tent and created a new bed. I was ready for a do-over. I needed a good night sleep and I wanted it now. It was an adventure to say the least, but of course, all’s well that ends well.

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Comments 2

  • TBR : Mar 20th


    This is the biggest reason I stopped using shelters (but not the only one).

    Mice got into my pack and my food my first night out, in Vermont. Bummer! And they pestered me and every other shelter-sleeper at every stop along the way.

    So, on one town visit, while at a hardware store to get some fuel for my stove, I picked up a couple of mousetraps.

    I became the AT exterminator.

    Hard on the little guys, I know, but I considered them not just a bother but a health risk.

    One night, at a shelter in New Hampshire, I trapped 12 mice.

    Not long after, I gave up on shelters, as I had developed an appreciation for sleeping under the stars (had a tent, just in case).

    I left my traps behind in one of the shelters, and I’ve always wondered if any other hiker put them to use.

  • Pony : Mar 20th

    The answer to not being hassled by mice, IMO, is the Ursack Minor (aka Critter Sack) with OPsack (odor-proof sack). I slept with my food (yeah, I know, bearanoids will freak out over that) everywhere it wasn’t required that I hang, and with the Ursack/OPsack combo, mice and other critters literally had no idea I had any food. I was never bothered once in 2,189 miles.


    And no, I am not a shill for the company. I used the Ursack/OPsack combo on the AT (’16) and CT (’15) and it worked for me.


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