The Snorelax: A Harrowing Account of Shelter Life on the AT

It was the middle of the night in the Fontana Hilton shelter and all were asleep until the snoring began. They were deep, resonant snores that rattled the whole shelter. Like a garbage truck condensing its load, the crackling symphony wove its way through our dreams. And then a deathly silence followed. The Snorelax had completely stopped breathing. It was a cycle of sleep apnea, horrendous in its magnitude.

The crisp, midnight air rushed through the shelter doors, cradling dozens of semi-conscious hikers. We attempted to drift back into our dreams in preparation for our upcoming hike into the Smokies. Then the sleep-talking began.

“…knife…” he mumbled. I accepted my fate and lay listening to the Snorelax’s fantasy.


HomeSlice and I barely contained our laughter in the darkness. Bursting at the seams, giggles began to spill out. We nudged each other like little kids, sharing in the ambiance of the night. Sweet Heart rolled his eyes at our amusement, trying in vain to ignore us. He tossed and turned, but the laughter was contagious. Soon he was losing his composure too, passing the Laughter Sickness on to Squish and Smirf. We were unified in our infection.

As the minutes ticked by, we deliriously listened to the symphony of the Snorelax. This is probably what a volcanic eruption would sound like. I thought, admiring the Snorelax’s ability to sleep through his own rumbling snores. Or maybe a massive avalanche. I smiled, attempting to measure his symphony on the Richter scale.

Sharing my incredulity, Clank’s blood began to boil: “This is insane!” he declared as he gathered his sleeping bag in his arms. Fuming at the natural disaster that was taking place in his bedroom, he slithered around in the dark, hoping to find a safe haven away from the Snorelax’s steady eruptions. Finally folding, he began to climb out of the ladderless loft, determined to sleep outside.

But something went wrong. His foot slipped. He fell 5 feet down to the cold floor, crashing into several stinky hikers. A cooking pot rolled across the shelter. A spoon clattered. Clank cursed, falling into a heap of anger. The whole shelter erupted with laughter, waking the Snorelax.


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Comments 2

  • Dave Michel : Nov 28th

    It would seem that a critical piece of equipment, ear plugs, are essential for community sleeping. They don’t weight much.

    • Chris Dixon : Nov 29th

      That is a very good idea. Especially the kind used for shooting practice. Thanks.


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