I’m always awake before everyone else. And there’s no other time I enjoy those early hours more than when I’m camping. I wake to watch streams of dew race down the nylon walls of my tent. And I’ll stay there forever, listening to the chitter-chatter of birds outside, squirrels knocking nuts and pine leaves off the trees, my friends shifting in their sleeping bags nextdoor. I like to explore, alone, in my pajamas and heavy socks, usually with the dog leash in one hand and a camera of some sort in the other.
But then, I like when everyone wakes up, when everyone is quiet and smiling and hugging and taking in big deep breaths of fresh mountain air. Mornings in the outdoors, I think, hold a little bit of significance for everyone. How can they not? I like when the self-proclaimed pyros light a morning fire and we all gather sleepily to make coffee in percolators and French presses and we hover around the picnic table waiting for boiling water to turn just the right shade of “ready” before pouring in the cream and gripping mugs that warm our cool fingers.
Mmmm … thinking about this is making me wish I was back on that mountain, on this camping trip with friends in the early summer. On a Friday night, we headed out of town for the Yuba River and stayed just until Sunday. It was short, but it was sweet and pleasant and full of just enough rest, exploring, noshing campfire stories.
It went a little like this: