I remember cold backpack mornings in Augusts
in the Adirondacks in the late 1960s, hanging-in
our sleeping bags long after waking from sleep
on our tarps only to watch for the longest time
while sunlight clambered down from tree tops
to give us the warming inspiration to crawl out
our snug sleeping bags and launch the new day.
Once with my late sister Karen in an open-front
lean-to shelter along Diamond Mountain Brook,
where a side trail leads to the Siamese Ponds,
the weather had been so warm that we took
our summer bags, only to find the lean-to floor
bare of the expected insulating balsam boughs.
Just barely past midnight we both awoke
bone-cold, deciding to sit up in our bags, our
feet propped on our backpacks, keeping them
off the cold lean-to floor. It reminded me how
Karen and I once rode eastward from college,
home for our Christmas break in the back seat
of a classmate’s car whose heater didn’t work.
At five degrees, we wore our gloves on our feet,
while we sat on our hands to keep them warm.