I’ve discovered that Friday’s are the best day to hike as there are fewer people around than weekends.

So this past week I set my sights on a hike in the Glasshouse mountains which are approx. 40 km north of where I live.

For some reason the idea of seeing the sunrise from the top of one of the mountains caught my fancy. 🙂

I realized this was slightly crazy given that there is a lot of thought and planning required for such an endeavour.

For starters I reasoned that I would need a headlamp given the time of day and unknown nature of the mountain I was going to hike.

The last thing I needed was to either get lost or fall off a cliff, both of which were very real possibilities if I wasn’t prepared properly…

So stopping by my local Kathmandu store I procured a headlamp for my hike. I know I’ll definitely use it again, and so happy with the purchase. 🙂

Next was determining which mountain would be best to hike. I’d prefer one that I hadn’t climbed before (easy given I’d only hiked one in this range), and so that wasn’t too difficult.

After consulting my AllTrails app I decided on Mount Ngungun. It was rated as an “easy” climb and only 2.6 kms in length out and back.

My other planning considerations were the timing of sunrise and the weather conditions for the following morning. Clearly there would be no point in going if it was going to be inclement weather…

It was all about the view at that time of day and the perspective I would have in the dawn light.

The sunrise was scheduled for 5:39 am with a clear forecast. Perfect conditions!

The only other thing to manage was to determine the workback timing so that I could be on top of the mountain no later than 5:20 am.

Let me see…

I live approximately 40 kms from Mount Ngungun. I wanted to be in the carpark at 4:50 am so that I could prepare and make the climb with plenty of time.

So working backwards I determined that I would have to leave home at around 4:00 am. This included a few minutes of contingency for the unexpected. 🙂

In preparation I set my alarm for 3:30 am then laid out all of the equipment.

The only thing I had to do was have a quick shower, and perhaps grab a quick bowl of cereal before heading out.

Next morning everything went to plan. I was out the door by 4:00 am sharp.

It’s an easy drive at that time of the morning, but definitely had to watch myself on the highway as they have speed cameras set up a irregular intervals. 🙂

When I arrived at the trailhead parking lot there were already three other cars in the lot.

As I began my ascent I was so thankful for the headlamp as it was impossible to see without it, especially once on the trail and in the thick bush.

All I could do was keep my head down and follow the path…

As I summited I noted two other couples already perched on rocks and ready for the sunrise. Of course I inadvertently blinded them with my headlamp as I scanned the summit. 😉

I made my apologies and then sought out my own vantage point further up the peak.

At that time of morning it was difficult to gauge the best spot, although in retrospect I don’t think there was a bad spot.

I sat high up with my feet dangling over the rocks, and didn’t realize until later that I was actually positioned on the edge of the cliff.

Thank goodness for the darkness! 🙂

As I sat there all I could hear was the sound of song birds in the bush below. The magpies warbling and the Kookaburra’s chattering away, but not yet laughing.

I realized that the Kookaburras only began to laugh once the sun was up…interesting!?

In the semi darkness it was easy to slip into a meditative state and just breathe, listen and take it all in…

I marveled at the ever changing beauty of the scene before me as the sun first peaked from behind some clouds far out over the Pacific ocean, then began its journey into the sky.

Slowly at first, with its golden rays chasing away the few clouds that dotted the pre-dawn sky. The warmth burning off these clouds to leave a crystal azure sky.

Over the course of the next hour or so I took more than 500 photos and a number of short videos.

None of them accurately capture the sheer beauty of my experience, as the images are just one aspect of this moment in time.

They aren’t able to fully capture the sounds, smells or elements as I experienced them.

As the sun rose the temperature also increased considerably and so after about an hour it was time to head back down into the shade of the bush.

Making my descent I noticed all of the incredible scenery I had not seen on my way up in the dark. Nor the steep and sheer drops in certain parts of the track…

Definitely a bit of a blessing if you know what I mean. 🙂

I felt invigorated when I got back to the truck. The best part was that it wasn’t even 7:00 am yet.

Now that’s the way to start your day!

Until next week