In the desert I found myself waking up before dawn so I could get as many miles in before the temperatures skyrocketed in the early afternoon. Now that I'm in the Sierra, I find myself hitting the trail as soon as I can start walking without the need of a headlamp for very different reasons. Each day I do my best to strategically camp within a few miles of my next high pass. If I get an early start I can cross onto the northern, snowy slopes while the snow is hard from the night freeze. Crossing the passes late in the day becomes more time and energy consuming because as the snow softens each footstep will sink further into the snow field. Due to the fact that I only cross one pass a day I've had a wide range in hiking distances. Some days I hike only 10 miles if two passes sit close together, but I've hiked more than 24 miles in a day with substantial elevation gain in order to setup for the following pass.
Some days I don't arrive at camp until dusk and by the time I review my maps for the following day it's practically dark. As the days grow longer the more time I spend on trail and the less time I spend at camp. I like the fact, on average, I'm making more miles per day, but my body continues to adapt to the ever changing daylight schedule. I realize my sleep continues to diminish and I often fantasize about sleeping in but even on my town stops my body wakes me up in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe after the Sierra my sleep schedule will relax some... If I'm lucky.