Hiking by headlamp at dawn
Head out into the early morning darkness to enjoy sunrise from the top of a remote peak. Embark on an exhilarating ascent at dawn.
June 5 2020
Backpacking and trekking
A nighttime start
In the dark of night, my alarm goes off. Still half-asleep, I get ready by feeling around, eyes closed, for my gear. A little voice inside my head asks me why I’m doing this instead of continuing to dream the night away.
The car stops at the trailhead. Sleepy as ever, nodding off during the ride, the fog in my head thickens as I step out into the clear of night. The stars shine brightly through the cloudless sky. A vast darkness decorated with thousands of tiny shimmering points of light whose gentle glow caresses the forest canopy overhead.
I adjust my headlamp and then switch it on. With its wide beam I scan the giant trees from bottom to top. No movement along the horizon. I shiver. We’re ready and it’s time to go. Little by little I feel my numb muscles start to warm up. The fog in my head clears.
Darkness surrounds us as we climb through the forest. I focus my gaze on the headlamp’s narrow halo of light. I notice so many small details, a weird-looking rock, a stray flower, the color of the leaves… Details that I would have easily overlooked if my field of view had not been so restricted. The surrounding trees take on unusual shapes. I start shivering again and catch up to the others.
For a moment time seems to stand still, and then we reach the edge of the forest. The sky has taken on a pink-orange hue. I adjust the brightness on my headlamp. The summit finally comes into view. I feel fully alert and pick up the pace so that I don’t miss it.
I climb the last few meters in a euphoric state. Just in time to see the sun slowly come into view. Its rays spread across the mountains like wildfire before it fully rises above the horizon. Its soft warmth caresses my face, and I now know why I refused to listen to the little voice inside my head when the alarm went off.
Calm and collected, I gaze at the sunrise and feel so fortunate to be here. What a grandiose sight to see. All by our lonesome, we bask in the start of what will surely be a great day.