Stairway to Heaven

Three alarms buzzed in the van, each one singing its own song.

Mine a harp, Tom’s a nuclear fallout warning tone, Crystal’s I couldn’t make out… she was curled in the upper deck of the van. Three more phones buzzed in tents outside, and three dogs wondered why the heck we were waking up before sunrise in freezing weather. I hit snooze as fast as I could. The ensuing quiet meant everyone else did too. Yes! Nine more minutes of bliss before Tucker would open the van door and start our day. He doesn’t know it, but I purposely wait to get up, just to see if he’ll snooze more than once. He never does. 

5:10AM. I sense the click of the slider handle, then the door whooshes open. “Buenos Dias!” Tucker says, and I laugh about his predictable zeal in the mountains. Dave and Kelly are the last to wake, and are still breaking camp when we putter away in a van packed full of gear and dogs and people. I think they had factored in “van time” to their morning wakeup. Because 30 minutes later, as we climbed the pass at 27mph, they zoomed past us, looking like they had won the game. 

It was beautifully clear… a gusty Sierra morning. We were a few hours ahead of a storm, and about to find ourselves on the stairway to heaven.