“How did you even hear about a sunrise hike??!”
Funny enough, it was my Aussie friend Julia who told me about this unique way to celebrate Canada Day! Her Yogi friend, Mandi, had recently joined the local Chasing Sunrise group for their Summer Solstice ascent up Mount Seymour. The same group then created a website and Facebook event to repeat this trek on Canada Day with a plan to sing the national anthem as the sun was rising.
The event received national coverage on the Huffington Post, CBC and more..
And then there was this awesome drone footage of the 350 people that made it up!
It was very much a last minute decision to attend, but I’m so glad I did!
Here’s what to expect if you plan on joining the next organized Chasing Sunrise hike, or attempt to do your own hike!
You will need to be at the base of Mount Seymour for 3:10 AM. This means waking up at 1:30 AM if you’re commuting to Kitsilano from Downtown to get a ride, as I was.
It will be dark, you will be tired and you will wonder if you should have just pulled an all-nighter rather than attempt those two hours of sleep.
You will also want a flashlight, although, I was able to follow the footsteps and lights of the people ahead of me! Every once in awhile I would pause (there are some steep, narrow sections!) and admire this line of fairy-lights.
The glow of the morning sun starts to creep up after about an hour of hiking and we could finally make out the path in front of us. It would have been nice to stop and admire the surroundings, but we had a sunrise to catch! (and we weren’t sure if we would even fit on the summit given the crowds!).
Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, sound asleep at 4:30 AM.
Here’s the crowd taking a seat on the boulder and admiring the stillness and quietness of the surroundings – with 350 other crazies for company.
Which way to look? The moon looking west had a unique, hazy glow while the mountain range to the east is what we were really here for!
So much red and white for Canada Day!
Shortly after 5:00 AM.
I picked up some Canada Flag temporary tattoos and Julia even bought a Canada Flag cape!! She wore it over her backpack and I told her she looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame 🙂
I remembered to remove the tattoo off my face for work the next day, but I forgot about the arm tattoo! So, I had several people tell me what a “sweet tattoo” I was sporting over the following days (I still have it!).
And how does one celebrate being at the top? (Other than singing).
With Canada Day coloured oreos!! I had my sister in the US buy these limited edition red velvet oreos and then stashed them away for a special occasion. This seemed like the best possible time to chow down on them.
You were born to do more than just pay bills and die. (That’s what the shirt reads on the lady to the left).
And it arrives!! Glorious sun! A new day!
We all sang O Canada! I taught Julia the lyrics on the car ride up.
With each sunrise, you’re given a choice.
From the Chasing Sunrise website:
Chasing Sunrise is a community that understands that with each sunrise, we are given a choice to make: we can either stay in bed waiting for life to come to us or we can get up and get after it, chasing what we want.
We choose the latter because we want more out of life.
More experiences. More adventures. More mind-blowing memories.
We want to be able to look back and whisper to ourselves “damn, that was awesome”. We want to experience things few others get to and we want to see the world differently.
That’s why we rise hours before dawn, hiking mountains, finding roof tops or windows with a view where can get to just in time to watch the sun peak over the horizon.
By the time we finished hi-fiving strangers and singing more renditions of O Canada than I have ever sung in my life, the group posed for a large photo!
Can you spot me?
(Photo credit: http://chasingsunri.se/)
We returned to the parking lot just before 7:00 am and in time to greet some unsuspecting morning hikers!
By 7:30 we were back in Kits at Whole Foods – highly recommend the kickstarter smoothie! We also had bacon. Satisfied from the breakfast and high off adrenaline, I decided to hike another mountain 😉 Grouse Mountain!!!
Well, I do have a weekly Wednesday Grouse Grind Club and I didn’t want to miss out on seeing them! They all said I was crazy and I am OK with that.
Who wants to join in on a sunrise hike?? I’ve heard of amazing sunrise hikes on famous mountains around the world like Mount Fuji or Kilimanjaro, but living in Vancouver, we don’t actually have to travel far to experience a beautiful sunrise in the mountains. We could do it in our backyards! #grateful 🙂
BIG THANK YOU to Mandi for organizing this, and Julia for inviting me along!!