It's called an Alpine Start, they tell me. The general idea is to wake up in the middle of the night so you can hit the trailhead hours before dawn. For experienced hikers, this is the best way to ensure you have time for a full hike on and off the mountain before the afternoon heat or thunderstorms. For inexperienced hikers, it is an excellent way to ensure you have no sense of how ridiculously steep your mountain is until it's too late.
"Please drink your water and pee in the woods."
Today's Gear Review doubles as a public service announcement from the always hydrated DO guide Pete Relyea.
In the outdoors, we are responsible for ourselves, our comforts and our safety.
Food and shelter immediately come to mind, though other things such as injuries that need splinting or even a makeshift hammock to relax the muscles after you log a day's miles won't just materialize because we need them to.