4am Always Sucks

Bierstadt Lake after an early morning start. We had the trail and the lake to ourselves for 2 hours! I hate the waking up, but I love the experience once I get out there.

I’m not one of those people who wake up before my alarm with enthusiasm to start the day.  I work a regular 8-5 job Monday through Friday so when the weekend comes around I can’t wait to turn it off and just relax into my day.  Unfortunately that rarely happens.  Instead I set my alarm for 4am (sometimes earlier) and prepare for the grind that will be the next morning.

I will wake up grumbling and grumpy as I put on whatever clothes I laid out the night before.  I will make a cup of coffee, the one highlight of the early morning, and pout as I drive to a trailhead I have already mapped out.  My mood is only slightly sweetened when I get outside to a quiet natural place and hoist my too-heavy backpack.  My mood sours again as I start walking and every muscle tells me to go back to bed.

The first 5 minutes of every morning hike are the same:  Why do I do this?  Is there any picture worth this (answer: yes, if I get one with a unicorn)?  I tell myself there are plenty of people living happy lives who are still in bed right now and I hate them a little for it at this moment.  Then it happens…magic.  I turn a corner or look up from my internal rant and see something.  It can be a grand view catching first light, a deer quietly standing in a meadow, a stream babbling nearby, a small patch of wildflowers, but it makes me stop and smile.  The rest of the hike is fun after this point and I can’t wait to do it over and over again.

But 4AM always sucks.


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