There’s a special breed who live for dawn. While you’re asleep we tip-toe out of bed. We yearn for the unspeakable hour. A 2am wakeup call means nothing. There’s anticipation in the air when we lace up our boots by headlamp; our foggy breath obscuring our vision. A morning cup of joe high in the mountains sounds like the perfect coffee date. Nothing beats skiing a fresh line of powder shortly after sunrise. The pyramid shadow of the mountain points us to the next horizon. We live by the sun. We are dawn patrol.
You’ve been wearing the same clothes for nearly 10 days now. You aren’t sure the last time you’ve actually taken off your long underwear. Yesterday? Or maybe 3 days ago? What day is it anyway? It would be considered a crime to ask someone to smell your socks. The phrase “tatu pani” is a part of your every day vocabulary. Coconut cookies are a daily part of a healthy diet. You’re sweaty, dirty, and picking up a questionable chocolate habit. Welcome to being elbow deep in the mighty Himalayas.
Gear. It’s intimidating. It’s complicated. It’s personal. It’s expensive. I’ve had a lot of people ask me about gear and getting started. People think that you need to have everything and anything in order to be successful in the backcountry. That’s definitely false. Don’t go running to REI and spend thousands of dollars just yet.
I inched closer to the fire, the chill of night started to seep through my damp clothes. Rain gear was strewn about, for about 8 miles the skies opened up on us. Drenched to the core is never a fun way to start off 32 miles, but we endured. Looking up I could see the shadows of the fire dancing against the trees, beyond that the first stars were starting to twinkle. Despite the picturesque scene something just didn’t quite feel right.