Going on a sunrise hike has plenty of physical and mental health benefits. Plus, it allows you to enjoy scenic views that you don’t get to see at any other time of the day. If you’re planning a morning hike (or more like a pre-dawn hike) to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunrise, here are some things to consider and do while planning your excursion.
1. Choose Your Destination
You can view the sunrise from wherever you are, but some locations simply offer better views and a more enjoyable experience (e.g. watching the sunrise from the top of a mountain amidst a sea of clouds beats watching it from a busy bridge). That said, choose where you want to watch the sunrise and plan your hike accordingly. And you don’t have to look far since there are probably plenty of wonderful viewing places in your locality like your local hiking trails or state parks.
2. Know What Time the Sun Will Rise
Check the local weather forecast to determine what time the sun will rise at your preferred sunrise viewing location. Check online or a weather app on your smartphone, or you can watch the news or listen to the radio. Check for any signs of bad weather as well (you don’t want to go hiking with the rain pouring down).
If you’re camping and plan to watch the sunrise from your campsite, determine what time you need to wake up. Plan on waking up at least thirty minutes before sunrise. This will give you enough time to brew your coffee and prepare something for you to munch on as you enjoy the view.
If you’re planning to do some hiking, estimate how much time you need to walk from the parking lot to the viewing deck, mountaintop, or wherever you plan to watch the sunrise. Plan to arrive at your destination at least fifteen minutes before the sunrise so you can set up your things before the show begins. Remember to include what time you need to wake up and how long it will take you to drive to the location.
3. Prepare Your Hiking Essentials the Night Before
To have the energy to go hiking in the early morning, you need to get a good night’s sleep. However, this can be difficult to do especially when you know that you need to get up a few hours earlier to prepare your hiking gear and essentials. That said, you’ll want to prepare everything you’ll need for the hike the night before. This will give you at least an hour more of sleep so you don’t feel groggy before going on a hike.
There are several things you need to prepare for this particular expedition like your hiking boots, the clothes you’ll wear, your trekking poles, and your hiking backpack. You can place them near the door so you can just grab them and go after a light breakfast. You’ll also want to prepare a hot water flask for your coffee or tea and even a sandwich or two so you can have something to munch on while watching the sunrise. Along this line, plan what to eat before you leave the house and get them ready so you don’t have to do a lot of preparation and cooking. All of these will make your morning easier and will help you avoid any excuses to postpone your plans.
4. Dress for the Occasion
Early mornings can be rather chilly even during the summer season, and you won’t be able to fully enjoy the view and experience if you’re shivering from the cold. That said, you’ll want to make sure that you wear the right clothes to keep yourself warm.
You’ll want to wear some good base layers, something warm yet also breathable. Even when you’re hiking in low temperatures, you’re still bound to sweat so choose fabrics that have moisture-wicking capabilities to draw sweat and moisture away from your skin. The same goes for your hiking socks.
You’ll also need a softshell jacket or an insulated jacket to keep the cold air from entering and keep your body heat from escaping. A beanie or a cap is also important, and you’ll want to wear one even if your jacket has a hood. As for your hiking boots, choose a pair that has an excellent grip on the soles. Since you’ll be hiking at dawn, the trails can be rather slippery because of the dew.
Another important piece of equipment to bring is a headlamp or a flashlight. You may want to consider using a headlamp as it will leave your hands free, but if you don’t feel comfortable having that strap around your head then a flashlight will do just fine. Remember, you’ll be hiking in the dark so you’ll need something to light your way. Bring extra batteries as well just in case the ones on your headlamp or flashlight run out. If you’re planning on using a rechargeable headlamp or flashlight, make sure that they are fully charged before you leave the house. Check them (and charge if necessary) the night before.
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Going on a hike early in the morning and watching the sunrise from its hiding place is one of the better things that you can do for your mind and body. Not only will the exercise help improve your cardiovascular health, but it will also help relax and rejuvenate you and even uplift your mood. Many people go on a morning hike for these reasons alone. The glowing rays of the sun at this time of the day also has this stunning effect on every landscape they touch, so much so that even familiar sights can look drastically different under this glow. All in all, there are plenty of reasons why you’ll want to wake up a little earlier and go on a sunrise hike now and then. For sure, it’s well worth the effort.
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