Your alarm is not set to go off for another 15-30 minutes, yet you snap awake, mind already alert and unfolding the days plans ahead of you. Your internal alarm clock has woken you yet again, earlier than anticipated. Yet, do not perceive this as an inconvenience and ignore your internal clock by pushing that snooze button in your mind. It is ringing for a reason, there is a reason it awoke you earlier than your schedule dictates. That reason may come in the form of getting extra work done today, an opportunity arising with new clients, extra time to be able to spend with family or friends, being in the right moment at the right time that the extra 30 minutes could provide. If you are on trail it may be the signal to venture out and be there before the world wakes, and hear, feel and see it wake around you. The signal on trail may be telling you, that if you travel forth earlier, you will meet a friend, meet an epic view with the best epic light, it may push you outside the bubble of a rainstorm, much can happen when listening to your internal clock. So, don't hit that snooze button yet, let it ring to you the benefits of listening to your internal clock while hiking, and while not.
In a world of rain and dark, we were given light and heat for just this moment.
It is 4:15 A.M. It is dark, it is quiet, it is one of our favorite times of the day. The world is blanketed in peace, blanketed in a hug that can only be felt when problems, worries, stress, everything that fills the air around billions of people each day is absent. Our alarm was not set until 4:45, yet here we find ourselves awake and alert, ready to start the day. So, we listen to our internal alarm clock over the one we predefined the night before. We get ready for the day, shower, brush our teeth, throw all of our work material in our car, and head out the door. Why did our body wake us earlier today? Why not let it sleep longer? Well, we do not know the answer to the question for today itself, but we have seen the answer time and time again, when we have listened, and it has always been the right choice.
Our internal clock has been our guide for years. We used to fight it, used to protest against it, and used to try and silence it. We would hit the snooze button in our minds, telling ourselves what could an extra 30 minutes accomplish, why would we need to wake earlier then defined? Every time we did hit that snooze button though we were silencing an opportunity. Silencing feeling the cold morning air upon our face that revitalizes us, silencing seeing the moon crest and brighten the world in its glow, silencing the opportunity to be where the world wished us to be at the time it wished us to be there. This realization did not come in an epiphany of something momentous happening when we listened to our internal clocks, no that is not how life usually works. Instead it was small, almost microscopic changes that were built and compounded day after day until it was finally felt year after year.
Yes unfortunately our internal clock led us to this moment to... yet it could of been deeper!
There is a reason to listen to your body and mind, when it awakens you. The reason may not be clear in the moment, but there is a reason nonetheless. It is not the 30 minutes earlier that define the reason. It is the day before you that begin to give it shape, the week ahead, the month ahead, and the year ahead. When listening to your internal clock, that 30 minutes may feel like "nothing" different was accomplished. You did your morning routine, what is so different about brushing your teeth? Did you brush them counter-clockwise this time, is that what we are talking about? No. It is the fact that you did that routine earlier than you would have. Your internal clock pushed your time frame up by 30 minutes. This means you are now ready to go earlier, ready to tackle the day earlier, and you have now opened the opportunity to be in the time you need.
We will give you an example from trail, since that is where our heart lies, and honestly that is probably why you read these articles, you don't read them to hear metaphorical life ramblings. One morning on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) our entire camp began rustling around 4 in the morning. Our plan for the day ahead was all to have alarms at 5 A.M. and begin hiking early to tackle the day, and tackle the snow before it melted to much. Yet, everyone's inner clock began ringing very loudly in camp, until the ringing turned into the noise of packing in the dark. We were all up, no point lazing around in camp, there were miles to do, views to see, snow to crunch over instead of into. That extra hour earlier nothing happened in between 4 and 5 A.M. We packed up camp, we hiked in the dark, we crunched snow underneath our feet. Nothing drastically changed in the earlier time than we had defined. Yet, as we continued the day the sun began to crest above the horizon and we were bathed in the light, and now could see where our day was leading. It was leading to an epically breathtaking mountain pass in the San Juan's, but it also looked epically brutal.
Snow...snow...and more snow.
Calm before the storm.
We continued hiking towards the base, the sun continued to climb higher and higher. Eventually the sun climbed so high that it was no longer bathing us in light... Wait?! That shouldn't be possible. We began to look to the sky, and realized that a heavy storm system had began to blot out the sun. The type of heavy storm system that rumbles mountains, strikes rock from cliff walls with lightning blasts, the type of storm that would blow these little ants climbing this mountain into the void. Yet, it was still far enough away we had time, we had time to safely get over the pass and find camp on the other side. Our pace increased, we pushed harder, we climbed quicker. If we got caught on this side of the pass on the climb when the storm hit, it would be a very dangerous situation indeed. There was nowhere to camp, nowhere to take shelter, we were the highest point around, and we needed to become the lowest, or at least the lowest we could reach safely.
As we powered to the top the sky continued to darken. When you have been on trail for months and even years you start to be able to read storm clouds. You can read the ferocity in the wind, feel the cackling of electricity on your skin, and taste the moisture in the air. This storm was going to be intense. We arrived at the top of the pass, and it was as if night had fallen again, but it was only mid day. We needed to get off this top quickly, very quickly. Picking a safe line down, we began our scramble of a descent. The clouds had began their descent onto us as well. Hail, sleet, snow, and frozen rain bounced off us as we bounced off of rock face to rock face running down the backside of this mountain. Wind gusts began to climb into the 50s and we were physically pushed with each step. Lightning began to strike and lighten the world around us at the same time it darkened our hopes of reaching a camp safely. Simply, we ran.
* NOT AN EXACT PICTURE, ACCURATE REPRESENTATION HOWEVER
Are you kidding?!? We are not stopping to take a picture inside of this!!!
We ran off that mountain pass, ran to find some tree cover, and find some safety. The first strand of trees we saw, we hightailed it. Soaking wet, shaking with cold and fear, our entire hiking family arrived safely. We all quickly set up camp, this was going to be an all day type of storm, and shivered our ways into our tents at 3 P.M. The adrenaline in our bodies let us yell jokes to be heard over the storm between tents as we stripped out of wet layer after wet layer. We joked, while in humor, also in dark realization imagining getting caught on the pass when the ferocity of this storm hit. We all chuckled softly at the realization that a half hour to an hour difference had quite literally saved us from severe injury and even possible death.
This is the power of an internal clock. We cannot begin to list the amount of times that this has happened to us on a thru-hike and even in life. How many times being in the right moment at the right time, prevented us from experiencing a world of pain and suffering. How many times we have been on a mountain peak at exactly the right time to safely descend and make it to tree line before an epic storm hit. How many times even outside of danger, but inside of comfortability, this internal clock has saved us from an extra hour or two from being poured on, when we made it into town right before the rain hit. How many times this internal clock has led us to meeting up with trail friends and trail family that we would not have met otherwise. How many times this internal clock has pushed us to be in the right moment to catch the one car on the one middle of nowhere road to get a hitch into town. How many times it has led us to being in the right moment to see that beautiful grizzly bear high upon the mountain and not directly in our face, see that porcupine scuttle across our path, see the mountain lion weighing us in its eyes. We have listened time and time again, because it has been right not necessarily in the context of what we "wanted" but always right in the context of what we "needed" that day.
Throw away your "defined" time, the physical clock.
Listen to your internal time.
Our internal clock has been one of our most important tools and gear not only in life itself but trail life. Yes, it has pushed us harder and demanded much from us but at the same time it has been always there to give us what we needed. ElevenSkys may even not be here if not for our internal clock. Our internal clock put us in the right moment at the right time, in the right frame of mind, to build this beautiful passion and company of ours. It wasn't one moment of listening to our clock. It was days, months, and years of listening and knowing it would lead us to where we needed. So, listen. Listen to when your body and mind wakes you each day and be ready. That extra 30 minutes may not be drastically different. Well, unless you brush your teeth counter-clockwise that is an epiphany of change! Yet, what those 30 minutes can lead to, will open up a world of change, and a world of opportunity. It is ringing for a reason, pick it up!
With our internal clock "set" for tomorrow, the next day, and any day, no matter the time,