My eyes are still closed as I listen to the birds that are chirping faintly in the background. Not hearing the rain that was falling when I fell asleep, I grin. Stretching my legs, I think to myself, they feel great! Likely due to the dose of vitamin I (AKA ibuprofen) I took before going to bed. Opening my eyes I gaze out at the wonder around me. A big smile stretches across my face; I love waking up in the woods!
Eventually, I check the watch hanging from the ridge-line of my hammock; 5:28A.M. and 52°F. As I examine the woods around me, I estimate that I have slept 9 1/2 hours since going to bed at hiker midnight (8PM). Now what? There is a choice to make. Am I going to get up and go or relax and chill?
What would you do?
I will share my preference later, but first let's find out what my hiking buddy DuctTape had to say when I asked him the same question.
DuctTape: “What I do in the morning varies greatly depending upon the trip and the circumstances of each day, however the basics remain the same; get up, pack up, eat, and walk. The order in which one performs these four tasks will determine what the remainder of the day is going to look like. As an example, you could eat before getting up, sometimes referred to as BFTH (Breakfast From The Hammock). To further illustrate some options, I present a tale of two trips.
July - 2013 - It was pre-dawn and I was in my hammock in the woods near the Cold River lean-to on the Northville-Placid trail. The air was still cool. I changed out of my sleeping clothes and into my damp hiking clothes for it had misted for the majority of the previous afternoon. My hammock, quilts and what-not were stowed in my pack, followed by my cooking gear. With my tarp still deployed I untied my Ursack (bear bag) from the nearby tree and it too was shoved in. With my pack fully loaded, I took my tarp down and stored it in the outside pocket of my Gossamar Gear backpack. In a short time of 15 minutes, my feet had hit the trail, not that I was rushing or even timing myself.
The trail was wet with dew, adding to my already damp hiking clothes. I broke through the countless spider webs which spanned the trail, apparently attempting to catch us backpackers for breakfast. As I walked I munched on a granola bar for some quick energy. Approaching a well known waterfall I could see the sun was beginning to rise. Sitting down on the large rocks protruding into the river I boiled some water with my alcohol stove. There is something about enjoying coffee as the sun gives rise to a new day.
Having already hiked about 3.5 miles, I only had about 12 more to go. Plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day and even rest during the forecasted heat coming around 1PM. I will surely arrive at tonight’s camp with time to relax. Smiling, I am glad I decided to get up and go.
The alarm that was set the night before went off at 6A.M., but she rolled over and went back to sleep. About 7A.M Allana was finally awake and she made her way to the log next to mine. We sat by the fire while we finished breakfast and I shared where my mind had wandered during the past hour. We then spent the remainder of the morning keeping the small fire going and swapping stories. We packed up our gear, gathered the trash that others had left behind, and hit the trail at a quarter to 9. It was the last day of the trip, we didn’t have far to go."
While reading his response, with contrasting stories, I too found myself reflecting back on the different trips I have been on. While my preference is to get up and go, he is correct in saying that each day's objectives and circumstances contribute to the actions of your morning. I guess you could say there is nothing routine about my morning routine.
Do you like to get up and go or relax and chill? What was your most memorable morning? Please share in a comment below.
I hope to see you on the trail,
I hope to see you on the trail,
[DuctTape (aka Russ) can be found backpacking and paddling throughout New York State, but spends most of time in the Adirondacks. He volunteers his time as a trail steward, lean-to adopter, and leads hikes for the Adirondack Mtn Club. Follow him on twitter @DuctTapeADK]