Updated: Nov 13
Just before the sun peaks above the horizon there is a silence about the forest. A stillness. As if all creatures have paused to acknowledge the dawning of a new day.
Ever since my first sunrise on a mountain top, when Ronald Reagan was president, I have sought them. I crave them. So much so that I will hike a mile in the dark without coffee just to catch one.
Often I am deep in the forest without a viewpoint. I know the sunrise is near by the grayness of the sky, barely discernible through the thick canopy. Even within the forest there is a measurable stillness just before the sun breaks the horizon.
A voice calling my name. Battling the fog of my waking mind I realized it was my friend asking if I still wanted to go. I brought my phone out of standby. I focused my eyes. 5:47 AM! We were supposed to be up by 5:00 AM to hike just under a mile to catch a sunrise.
I responded that I didn’t think I could make it. There was disappointment in his voice. Yet even as I spoke I had begun an internal struggle with my thoughts. I wanted to be on that tower to watch the world come alive. Some quick calculations. I considered the location of my things scattered about the tent. I sprung to action.
By 6:11 AM, just 24 minutes after coming out of a benadryl-induced fog, we were on the trail with headlamps. Fully packed. And walking as fast as we could on a dark trail.
The Sound of Silence
We made it. With only minutes to spare. Descriptions and pictures can only provide so much. You just have to be there. A panoramic vista of mountains extending to foothills. Valleys filled with a foggy inversion. An orange sky extending laterally beyond what the eyes can capture in a single frame.
This is my most recent sunrise. By the time coffee was in my hands the sun was nearly a finger’s width above the horizon.
Will I see a sunrise as beautiful? As capturing? Maybe. Probably. Next time, hopefully, I will already be sipping from my coffee.
Whether I’m in the forest, or on a mountain top, I am certain of at least one thing. When dawn breaks I will be able to hear the silence.
About The Author
My name is Jerry. Trail name is Monsoon. In addition to running a hiking club, I also own and operate a coffee shop & bookstore. Check it out here.