I wearily open my eyes to a blur of light on the horizon. Struggling to extract an arm from my little cocoon I reach for my glasses and see the first light of dawn's glow.
It's just before 7am and there's no chance of going back to sleep now as I marvel at the blanket of crisp white frost that surrounds me. We definitely did well choosing a place to sleep last night as this gorgeous Yew tree with its outstretched branches sheltered us from the worst of the cold. Like an island in a vast ocean we are the only patch of green grass to be seen.
Excited like a child waking on Christmas morning I tear myself from the warmth of my bivvy to explore. Taking my first steps out from beyond the comfort of the tree I hear the satisfying crunch of frozen grass. The morning is mine and mine alone as I wander into a world of white-tipped ferns. Inhaling the cold morning air a huge smile forms as I drink in the feeling of being alive. This is why I bivvy or camp out when many others wouldn't. I'm surrounded by nothing but nature. Surveying the land 360 degrees there's not a soul in sight and the only sound is the odd honking of the nearby geese. Emily is still sound asleep in her tent and I savour this time to myself, just me and the world.
As my fingers and toes start to numb from the cold I snuggle back into my bivvy bag and get the stove on for a brew. Wondering if Emily is awake I call her name but don't hear a response - tea for one it is then. I met Emily yesterday afternoon after responding to a message she posted on the Adventure Queens Facebook group wanting to find some company for her first wild camp. It being my week off work I jumped at the chance and when I mentioned that I'd be going for a bike ride beforehand Emily said she'd like to come along, so after meeting at Beaulieu road train station we mounted our steeds and hit the tracks.
Blue skies and sunshine surrounded us as we pedalled through the rather soggy trails. I was fine on The Beast, my trusty mountain bike but Emily was riding a road bike which made the muddy parts significantly harder, not that she complained as she matched me pedal for pedal - girl power, haha!
I always get a bit nervous when meeting people for the first time but I needn't have worried in meeting Emily as we got on well from the start. That's what I love about the groups that I'm part of on Facebook as immediately you have a common interest in adventure. A few hours into the ride and the dark clouds threatened to put an end to our sunny ride. After consulting the map we decided it best to take the road back and minutes later the rain began. Gradually getting heavier and riding into the wind it wasn't long before we were rather wet and counting down the miles to the station. Nearing the edge of the rainclouds the sun appeared again only to bring us the most amazing rainbow!
The stove lid rattles to let me know that the water is boiling. I pour the hot steamy liquid into my mug for the first tea of the day. As I lie back down to rest and watch the world go by I start to see a circle of orange appear through the trees. My heart quickens as I realise that the sun is rising and I get up to wander closer. It feels like the world is putting on a show just for me as the bright spot grows slowly into the sky.
I breathe deeply and drink in the magical sunrise. Watching the dawn of a new day always gives me hope. The dark is no longer, light washes over the land and starts to thaw the frozen scenery.
I walk back to the tree and call to Emily again to let her know that the sun is rising as our camp is bathed in the warming glow.
Like me she gazes at the beauty of the sunrise. We sit and eat porridge whilst the world awakens around us under the shining orange sun. I'm glad that Emilys first wild camp has been a success, even if her rollmat kept deflating in the night! Last night we had a sky so full of stars it made me dizzy just trying to look at them all and to be blessed with a glorious sunrise is pretty special. These are the moments that make a restless night worth every second. Here's to living in the here and now!