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158 The Shopaneer 2009-12-02

Alpine start on Lons Peak

Alpine starts. What memories. Waking at two in the morning, quickly donning clothing, downing some food and water, and hurrying to the trailhead in order to make the most of the day. My friends and family say why? They scoff at exertion (without pay) at any time, much more so while on vacation. They do not understand mountaineering, why would anyone like to walk and climb all day in the mountains? Why would you get up that early just to climb a mountain?

As Thanksgiving was approaching my friend, Laura said, "I bet the same people who don’t understand our alpine starts are the ones who wait overnight in line at Walmart or Target just to shop."

Yes, I can see it now...

After stuffing their stomachs on Thanksgiving Day, they try to go to bed early, but can’t fall asleep. No one else is asleep and the noises of the Holiday spirits ring through the house. Sitting up in bed they look through the ads one more time. Is it really that special of a sale? Yes it is! With nervous anticipation they close their eyes and try to sleep again.

All too early the alarm rings. In full automation mode their feet hit the floor running. Clothes on, hat on to cover the hair - there’s not time for bad hair days for a true shopaneer, warm coat, and out the door ready to rumble. The car has already been stocked. An extra copy of the ads, a thermos of coffee, and food are stuffed in the between the seat console. Stopping to pick up a fellow shopaneer, they remember the old adage, never go shopping alone on Black Friday.

With great anticipation they wheel into the parking lot and find a spot. It was not that crowded. Standing in line they endure the cold wet weather. Lucky for them they brought their Gore-tex umbrellas.

Suddenly the doors flew open, in a mad rush they push their way through the entrance and to the aisles. With the store ad in their hands they navigate the store. Climbing up and down each aisle they look for the special routes only a true shopaneer would know. Their expert navigation saved them seconds, minutes, and yes, dollars. Finally, it was time to check out. They had pushed hard to be first in line, they had found everything they wanted, and now just to pay for it. Suddenly their was an uproar, the cash register was broken. They had reached a false summit. They must continue to the next line. Now they were going to be way off schedule. They were going for a triple store day, but needed to be out of the stores and back home by noon. Adjust, adapt, and conquer the true shopaneer would never falter at such minutiae. Push to keep everyone going in line. Give the disgusted look to anyone taking the time to write a check. And then drive with reckless abandon to the next store and ...

So perhaps the two disciplines shopping and mountaineering are strangely similar. And for this mountaineer, if there are any shopaneers looking for the perfect gift, a Patagonia Nano Puff, looks pretty good. I think you would be able to say you bagged that one.

Happy shopaneer and mountaineer trails.


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