When I started backpacking, breakfast was an affair. My husband and I would settle for nothing less than a hot and fully cooked breakfast, hearty and heavy with grains and meat. Often, I would wake up with the sun filtering through the tent wall to the smell of oatmeal or eggs (sometimes both), which nearly made up for the fact that I woke up alone – after all, if Ambrose was going to be cooking breakfast, then he had to abandon me in the tent.

But as the years went by, our breakfasts shifted – as did my wake up time. With more miles to hike in our days, I was forced to adapt to getting up first with the sun, and then before it. We discovered that eating a freeze dried dessert instead of grits and eggs was a lot more appealing in a cold, dark morning.

The problem was that it still took a good amount of time. Gathering water, boiling water, letting the freeze dried dessert absorb the water – and don’t get me started on the cold desserts. Sure, less time boiling water, but I find eating something cold and wet, no matter how sweet, in the morning when I’m cold and just want to get moving and warm, to be unappetizing.

So on our Chamberlain trip last year, I suggested making a switch. Instead of having our bars for lunch and our desserts for breakfast, let’s have our bars for breakfast and our dessert for lunch. My reasoning was that we could get moving faster in the morning and have a sweet treat midday. For me, it’s much better to just start hiking in the cold morning, because that’s the only thing that will really warm me up. Any delay, even for a hot breakfast, just slows me down mentally.

I had just come off my no-cook solo trip at that point, and I knew that my body would be able to handle just going on a few bites of a bar. I thought Ambrose would be able to handle it, too. And I was right.

We could still stand to shave some time off of our morning routine, maybe get up a little earlier so as to have more hiking light, but cutting out the ritual of a hot breakfast certainly helps. Instead of waking up to have an entire activity centered around food before we strike camp, we can get directly to striking camp. Instead of having me sit and moan in the cold while I wait to eat, I can hike and moan on the trail that I’m too cold going at Ambrose’s pace. Or something like that.

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