Technology rids trail of pest, by Philippa Aswang.
I first met LeRoi Nildenson only a day before we began our hike of the Pathetic Crust Trail. I should have known.
Despite the trail's glowing reputation and what all the guidebooks say, it has a name that's just begging to bring on disappointment, and it did.
But I didn't expect anything as pathetic as LeRoi.
It was two weeks of hell, hiking with that man – up one side and down the other – and he was always talking about his car, or pining for his cat, or wondering what his mother would be making him for breakfast now, if only he was still at home with her. Well, soon he will be, because I finally did what I should have done in the first five minutes.
Sure, yes, I admit – it was my decision to go with LeRoi. I picked him and thought "Hey – what's the worst that could happen?" Well, the worst turned out to be LeRoi. He said his trail name was BOO-Hah!, and he was a gonzo hiker, but five minutes after I first laid eyes on him I had to start calling him Boo-Boo, and he was a bozo hiker, a trail scab, a pustule on the very idea of backpacking.
Hint to those who follow in my footsteps – don't believe every profile you read on Plenty of Tramps. I know most of you don't need to hear this, but it's too easy for even a trail-hardened woman to get carried away when you find all of the following in a fifty-word profile:
Adventurous, athletic, open-minded, new age, old fashioned, friendship, sole mate, free spirit, emotionally secure, nearly beardless, feminist, educated, intelligent, sick of the campground scene, fun loving, creative, long hikes in the moonlight, snuggling near a warm campfire, employed, tick-free.
Luckily I leased LeRoi from Plenty of Tramps rather than buying him outright, and charged it on my Amazon.com Store Card (by GE Capital Retail Bank). That gave me the leverage I needed not only to send him back, but to get a full refund within hours.
That, and the new Amazon Prime Air which went into service none too soon. It took only a little thumb-waving over my smartphone, and almost before I could hog-tie LeRoi for the trip back, there was the Amazon RotoMerch FetchDrone with its buzzing thrusters coming to return him to the warehouse.
Sooner than I imagined possible, LeRoi was hoisted up and spirited away over the treetops, never to annoy anyone again – all at no cost to me, thanks to newly-loosened FAA regulations and Amazon's liberal returns policy. He really belongs at home with Mama and his cat anyway, not with a real trail woman.