They say the darkest hour is just before dawn and for me the coldest moment follows on when getting out of a snug downy sleeping bag just as daylight arrives on a winter camp. Flysheet crisp with frost. Cold air nipping at my nose. Fighting the urge to bury myself back inside the dark warmth of that downy bag. It’s a tough one.
To make things easier I have my stove and kettle set up the night before so I can lite it from my bag and retreat back inside to watch the purple glow quietly boil the days first brew. I use a trangia so it’s a slow affair with time to get used to the idea of getting up and out. Sweet black coffee is drunk from the comfort of my bag. Shoulders eased outside and sitting up it is a slow rebirth on cold winter mornings.
As the coffee slaps me awake the stove goes back on for porridge and as I eat I let the last of the meths burn off. The dancing flame and light give an illusion of warmth to my cold berth. This waking ritual might take half an hour or sometimes more. By the end of coffee and porridge the meths splutters out and I’m half out of my bag thinking of getting boots on,unzipping the door and standing upright like some dazed and wobbley new born beast forced into it’s first day.
Best thing about getting out and upright is the long slash I’ve been putting off for the last 3 hours!