My watch vibrates.

As I open my eyes, the semitransparent white Dyneema reminds me I’m not at home in bed. Not that I have a home, technically I guess this is my home in this tent.

Then my phone blasts an annoying rap song to keep me from ignoring my watch alarm.

If it wasn’t for my hiking partner, I would close my eyes and fall back asleep. It’s time to start the morning routine.

I start with all the morning chores that I can stay in my quilt for to avoid the cold of the morning since the sun hasn’t crested over the mountains yet.

First, I fill my shoulder pouch with snacks for the day, then my food for the day goes into a ziplock that goes on an outer pouch for easy access.

I change out of my sleep clothes and silently complain that my clothes didn’t dry overnight. The puffy goes back on as my Town Shirt warms back up. Luckily my socks and underwear are clean and dry.

I wonder why my left leg seems to be getting cut up and my right leg seems mostly unscathed. Of course the tattooed blood on my Texas Chainsaw Massacre tattoo always makes it harder to tell what’s my blood and what’s tattooed blood.

I pour alcohol into my alcohol stove and start my water for coffee. The tease of a warm cup of coffee making it easier to get going.

When I turn the valve on my thermarest and I sink towards the ground I know it’s too late to go back to sleep.

My food bag goes on top of the quilt and the Therm-a-rest pad goes on top of them. Then I throw in anything else that goes inside the pack for the day.

When all that remains is my backpack, rain jacket, and fanny pack, it is time to get out of the tent for the day. I pull out the shepards hooks supporting my home and watch it collapse. I stuff the tent into my pack along with the shepards hooks. Next I have to pull off the puffy and embrace the cold morning. The puffy and rain jacket go on top of the pack before I close it and strap it all down as tight as possible.

I walk around my tent site to make sure I have everything and nothing is hiding in the dirt.

As I start walking my mind is blank, it’s too early to be awake. With a coffee in one hand and trekking pole in the other I try and crush as many miles before my brain wakes up.

When the coffee is gone the hunger starts to set in, so I find a good spot to rest and start the alcohol stove back up. Time for warm oats and my second cup of coffee.

With a few miles down, I watch the sunrise as I eat my oats and enjoy my warm coffee. With an amazing view I can reflect on how happy I am to be on trail, my only responsibility is to hike 20 or so more miles to repeat this ritual again tomorrow.

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