I'll usually stay snuggled up in my sleeping bag until there's enough light out so that I don't have to burn the batteries on my headlamp. I use that time to prioritize packing up to best make use of my hands while they still work; buckles and snaps come first since they take some dexterity.
Once I let the air out of the mattress and stow my sleeping bag in its compression sack, there's no turning back. I've got to minimize the time between being warm in my sleeping bag and being warm hiking so I need to hurry.
If I have them, I'll open a couple of those chemical hand warmers and put them in my gloves. I'll also use them to unstick frozen tent poles and, eventually, I'll put them in my boots.
While pulling tent stakes out of the frozen ground and shaking the frost off the rain fly, I can feel my hands and feet getting numb. By the time I strap my pack on and grab my trekking poles, they are painfully cold.
That's okay. I'll get moving as fast as I can and get my core temperature up. It will take a while until that warm blood circulates to my extremities. Sometimes, that's the worst part!
Finally, the sun comes up and the ambient temperature starts to rise. Time to stop, de-layer and cook up some coffee. This is my favorite time of day; time to stretch, to feel the sun on my face and to be grateful that I'm right where I belong: On the trail.
Is your morning like my morning? Leave me a comment below!