How do crazy people eat breakfast, you might find yourself asking. Actually, you probably don’t find yourself asking that, but I have an answer anyway. You see I’m a fairly crazy person, and I decided to eat breakfast at the top of a mountain. But I couldn’t do things normal, (that wouldn’t be crazy.) I wanted to watch the sunrise while I ate, which meant leaving at 4:30am to hike 2.2 miles, gaining 1900ft in the process. The fallowing is a record of my travels.
After a very long day at work, I climb the stairs to my apartment. The old air conditioning unit is chugging away, trying it’s hardest to cool the area (and barely succeeding.) So I turn the thermostat up to ninety, just to silence the thing. I wouldnt’ be needing it for a while anyway. Then it’s time to start grabbing things. My good backpack, little stove, first aid stuff, sleeping bag, and all the other essentials for camping overnight. Throw all that into the truck, and drive out to meet my family for Dinner. Pork Chop night, my dad is very proud of his grilling and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be. Say goodbye to the family unit, and head to the store. Whats for breakfast… Ah, that’ll be good. Eggs, bagel, fake spicy bacon, cheese and an orange. Toss it into the truck and head west.
It’s late at the campground, I don’t mind because setting up my “tent” is easy. Just park it and move stuff out of the way.
After the sleeping bag is unrolled and the parkmaster has been paid (“We have no spots open except for overflow,” is what he told me. I told him “I’m just sleeping in my truck, can I pay you and just use the parking lot?” this seemed to be an ok arrangement) it was time to pack the backpack with everything I would want to carry up. There was a lot of “Do I really need this much water?’ and “I don’t think I need an entire first aid kit, just some essentials” in order to get the pack down to a reasonable weight. The final act of the evening was to set the alarm on my phone. Sunrise is around 6:00am, so if I’m going to make it to the top before then… I need to wake up at around 4:00am. That gives me some time to wake up, dress, and double check the pack.
It’s dark. There is dense fog on the ground and the small flashlight I have brought with me is almost not enough. It’s 4:25am, and I’ve just reached the trail-head. The first part of the trail is a light downhill, across a bridge, and then it’s up for the rest of the way. I had forgotten how steep it was, and found myself quickly regretting the jacket I had donned earlier due to the biting cold. The darkness is also playing tricks on me. Every snapping twig or rustling in the bushes is a mountain lion, or worse. One of the things I carry when I venture into the wilderness is a large knife, which is very handy for clearing vegetation but not much else. Regardless of the irrationality, though, I find my hand on the hilt. It doesn’t help when I round a corner and experience some wildlife inches from my nose.
I’ll just go ahead and duck under that…
Legs burning, I reach the first clearing, but don’t stop. I know I can make it to the halfway point without stopping, and half the reason for doing this is to prove myself to myself. Finally I reach the crossroads that marks the half way point. I take off the backpack and stretch, because that was the easy part. After a few sips of water, it’s off I go towards the summit.
After a bit more walking, I get to the point where the trees thin out. It’s now that I can see a little bit of light on the horizon, and the ambient light is just enough that I can see things outside the spot of light from my flashlight.
Soon afterwards I finally climb out of the fog, and for the fist time can look up at the sky. The sky is really something to behold, fading from a deep blue to a lighter turquoise, occasionally dotted with stars or clouds. Below me is a sea of cloud, rolling and churning, forming some kind of ethereal landscape that has a very unique beauty.
Shortly after, and the end is in sight.
Upon reaching the summit I was greeted with some absolutely beautiful views. I was stunned, and a little disappointed that I had never done this before.
Now I’m starting to get hungry. The sun hasn’t quite risen, but I’m not gunna wait forever. I’ll at least get the stove started.
Start the tea, prepare the eggs… Have a cooking montage:
The sun has mostly risen at this point, and it has changed the scenery pretty dramatically. Nothing to do but stop and take a few more pictures:
Time to head back down. Walking back is always easier, especially after refueling. After about ten minutes of walking, the sun chose to make itself shown proper, and peaked out from behind some clouds. I didn’t get a picture of it, but I did take these ones trying to capture it:
And then its down, to descend into the mists below.
Through the forest
Across the bridge:
And finally back “home.”