It’s 5AM, How ’bout a Sunrise Hike?!- at North Cheyenne Canyon Park

Anyone who knows me knows that I am 100% not a morning person at all. My natural schedule is wake up at 8:00AM to 9:00AM and go to bed at midnight or later. But even though I’m awake it doesn’t mean I’m ready to chat or do stuff. I’m one of those people who definitely needs to ease into my morning slowly and quietly. So, THIS is probably one of the bravest things I’ve done here in Colorado, committing to a sunrise hike at 5:00AM. As dumb as that sounds, it is extremely difficult for someone like me to be awake for that and also not be the crankiest shrew in the world. But, man, was it worth it!

4:15- alarm goes off. After a long period of moaning and groaning, I finally wake up and turn on the light. Ahh! My eyes! I’m basically a vampire melting in the light. I get up and start getting ready for the hike. Making sure I have all my gear ready. I’m so tired I’m struggling to tie my shoelaces on my hiking boots. A little snack and a little coffee and we’re sprucing up a bit! I’ve never taken a sunrise hike before, so I figure this groggy, heavy-eyed feeling is totally worth it for a whole new experience. Man, why couldn’t I have been born to be an early riser. As much as I look at early risers with absolute confusion and horror that they’re up every day at 5:00AM ready to go, I have so much respect and admiration for them.

And we’re off! My friend picks me up in her Jeep and we head out into the darkness towards North Cheyenne Canyon Park, which is only 4 miles from where I live! This is fantastic park but can be VERY crowded in the tourist seasons or busy hours (after lunch to dinner) We arrive at the Mt. Cutler trail, there’s a small parking lot/pulloff right by it. Surprisingly, there are 2 other cars there! Someone actually got here before us?

The sun is starting to peak on the horizon. So, there’s enough light on the trail to be able to see where we are going. Which is good because some parts of the trail have some rougher terrain. I keep having to remind myself to look at the trail and look down from time to time and not keep looking around at the spectacular views. The golden light of the morning is following us up the mountain as it begins to shine through the trees and bounce off the rocks. The golden light starts to hit the mountains, the trail and the scenery is washed over with the fantastic golden glow. The sky is the most gorgeous golden orange. This is what life is all about, moments like this, I think to myself. The promise and hope of a golden new day. The wonder of nature unfolding in front of me. Bathed in golden light and warmth, I feel at one with nature and my surroundings. As if the sun, the mountains and me are connected by this golden hope.

We hike for a while until we get to the top. You can see a sea of trees blanketing the mountains. On some parts of the trail you see the beautiful city of Colorado Springs beneath you. I start thinking to myself as I look out at the view in silence, damn, this is such an amazing place to live! I never thought a place like this could ever exist. A city in such close proximity to endless trails and parks, fantastic hikes! A city that provides an amazing mix of urban, suburban and rural life all within city limits. This many hikes and parks in a 10-mile radius of my home: North Cheyenne Canyon Park, Red Rocks Canyon Open Space, Garden of the Gods, etc. It’s the perfect combination for someone like me who feels most alive being close to nature and is also an ambivert, who enjoys going out and enjoys alone time as well. It’s the perfect place to live for nature lovers and outgoing people alike. You get such an amazing variety and such a variation of fun things to do like nowhere else I’ve ever been. Very few places offer this type of diversity of experiences, places, views, experiences and geographical wonders. This is why I fell in love with this city and decided to live here. Colorado Springs is such a special and unique place!

We hang out at the top for a while, just admiring the beauty of this state, this place, this world. And I’m expressing so much gratitude to the Universe for being able to live in such a special city. A city that is so beautiful and the people are so kind-hearted and good-natured overall. A city with such a vibrant and genuine energy, where people are down-to-earth and actually are friendly, they actually care about others and are genuinely interested when they ask you how you’re doing. Their warmth is unlike any other. Great people!

Speaking of people, where are the other hikers? We saw 2 cars at the lot but along this whole hike we haven’t seen a single fellow hiker. Hopefully, they’re just on another trail and nothing weird is going on there. The golden light has filled the entire scene at this point. The city and the mountains are waking up to the gentle touch of the light. It really is such a moving, introspective and significant moment. A reminder of gratitude, blessings, joy, peace and the oneness of all things. My transcendentalist heart is also filled with golden light pouring out of me, thank you Nature! Thank you, Universe! Thank you, God, for this moment!

And now it’s time to break myself away from this trance and head back. All of a sudden hikers and joggers with their dogs (because everyone in the Springs has at least one dog it seems!) start arriving. Amen to the people jogging on this trail! I see you, boss lady! The trek back down is just as magnificent as the trek up as the forest and trail awakens. The parking lot is filling up really fast with people, it’s about 7AM at this point. We give up our parking spot and head back down, headed home. The city is waking as people are driving to work. What a morning! And there’s so much more day left to enjoy. But first, this lady needs a nice nap!

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