There’s a special breed who live for dawn. While you’re asleep we tip-toe out of bed. We yearn for the unspeakable hour. A 2am wakeup call means nothing. There’s anticipation in the air when we lace up our boots by headlamp; our foggy breath obscuring our vision. A morning cup of joe high in the mountains sounds like the perfect coffee date. Nothing beats skiing a fresh line of powder shortly after sunrise. The pyramid shadow of the mountain points us to the next horizon. We live by the sun. We are dawn patrol.
Sunrises Don’t Disappoint
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there’s something magical about watching the world wake up deep in the mountains. Beyond the reach of automobiles and technology. In the moment watching the sun crest the horizon I feel connected. Connected to the rhythm of the Earth slowly turning to another day. New life breaths into your soul. Here, you can truly let go and live in the now.
Beat the Crowds
The main reason I started waking up for dawn is because I want to beat you to the trailhead. Those early mornings are a small price to pay for some solo action on the trail. Just after sunrise is my favorite time to hike. The forest wakes up, you can smell the dew, animals are everywhere searching for breakfast. It’s a lively time to be on the trail. Early mornings provide you with the intimate moments with nature that we all seek.
Thunderstorms are a serious threat in a mountainous environment. They kill people every year. Last year in Colorado alone, 38 people died of lighting strikes. Storms tend to roll around near noon. Don’t get caught in a sticky situation, an early start on most of Colorado’s easily accessible peaks will allow you to be safely below tree line before noon.
The spring climbing season is no different. As the snowpack melts it becomes unstable, often resulting in wet slide avalanches. If you plan to go out into the wilderness where you will be traveling in avalanche territory, get educated and opt for the good old alpine start.
The Magical 3-day Weekend
Here’s a little-known secret: every weekend can be a three day weekend. When you’re awake by 2am you can easily squeeze in an extra day. It’s not uncommon to wake up for dawn, take a nap at 2pm and arise at 4pm for an afternoon of relaxing. Getting up early means you can squeeze two days into one.
Join the Dawn Patrol Tribe
Everyone should go on dawn patrol at least once in their lives. Even if you hate the thought of getting out of bed before 10, switch it up and go have an adventure at sunrise. Dawn brings new light and perhaps it will turn a light on within yourself that you never thought you had.