The morning routine is simple: Suit up in a few layers, put on your trail runners, grab your water bottle and room key, and vamonos! The layers keep us warm in the early morning chill as we cross the ranch to meet our group.
By the time we arrive, our bodies are beginning to warm up from the inside out. I fill one jacket pocket with almonds, the other with tissue. We grab some fruit and follow the hike shepherds out past the vineyards.
The pace is a quick clip out in front, and following the leader can be a bit challenging when we're still yawning. But soon we are invigorated and wide awake.
Although we all start at the same spot, all hikes vary in almost every way: difficulty, terrain, vistas. Talking to staff members about skill level and ability will give each hiker a good idea about which trail to take. Even when hikers fall back on a hike, the shepherds are always there to make sure no one is left behind or lost.
Once we conquer our mountains, we return to the vineyards for a stretch. Shepherds guide us through a series of stretches and then send us off for the day. Most hikes end by the time the old bell clangs and clamors, calling us to nourish our bodies.
We walk towards our breakfasts, knowing we earned every morsel!
This week, I am a forever grateful hosted guest of Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico.