June 1, 2016.
I got the grand idea of watching the sunrise from the Sleeping Giant, a popular mountain close to town. We, of course, got up silly early in order to do this. Quite the opposite of how most people choose to do vacation.
We strapped on our headlamps and prepared to hike up the pitch dark trail. It was only 2 miles long but it gained a thousand vertical feet in that distance. It was going to be a little bit of a lung-buster.
We started walking, single file, up the slick and muddy trail. I flashed my headlamp down for a second and caught…eyes. EYES. Unmoving eyes. And again! The trail was packed with bullfrogs. It was completely insane. They sat staunchly in their position, completely unimpressed with us being there. I thought for sure I’d either step on one or impale one on my pole. Yikes. We carefully chose our steps all the way up the mountain.
In sections the trail was very difficult to follow. The tread had all but washed away from the incessant rains. We made our way through the worst of it, made even more sporting in low light, and eventually came to the top of the trail. It was at an arbitrary point, seemingly, with several options for exploring ridges and highpoints beyond. We heard voices of other people looking to capture some sunrise photos too, and all I wanted was our own little spot.
We found it, and just in time for a quick rainstorm to pass over us. Glad I had my rain jacket ready to go!
Despite the frogs, mud, rain and other people it was an absolutely spectacular sunrise. Watching the colors change as the sun came up over the water was breathtaking. We took lots of pictures and tried to soak in the scene. Yes, we were in paradise.
The hike down was far more interesting than the hike up because we could actually see! There were beautiful trees and flowers all around us. There were even a few remaining daytime bullfrogs. Every leaf dripped with water, keeping the ground moist. The colors seemed over-saturated, except this was real life.
It was interesting to see the eroded trail in full daylight. Eek! Surprising that so many people make the trek up here despite the awful trail conditions. I guess since there are two alternate routes up that most people go a different way.
We stopped and stopped and stopped to take photos all the way down. What a glorious place. Paradise, indeed. In no time at all we returned to the parking area, ready for breakfast!