Hike your own hike
As an artist, my circle of friends and family has grown to accept that some of my traits tend to be a bit eccentric. Fortunately though, my circle also contains many other eccentrics, and when I put out a call for company on for a 3AM start into Tuckerman Ravine this weekend…I knew I wouldn’t be hiking alone…
Why 3AM? It just comes down to the fact that I believe in the notion of hiking your own hike. Put in what you want, get out of it what you will. I find such a sense of peace and tranquility in watching the first of the sun’s rays moving across the landscape that experiencing it has almost become an intoxicating addiction. These benefits are deeply personal, as I find energy in the light and landscape. I also love the way that the camera captures images during the early golden hour, and find joy in bringing those moments back for others to enjoy.
But there are other benefits to hiking through the night. The air is cooler, and you thus stay drier during exertion. In winter, the snow is firm at night, reducing the need for cumbersome snowshoes. In the summer, bugs seem to bother you less. And a special consideration for this past weekend, with a forecast of a pleasant bluebird during the height of the spring skiing season…there was no issue with parking!
We were a group of four, two with great experience hiking at night, two first timers, both to night hiking, and to Tuckerman Ravine. All were photographers, hoping to capture an iconic snowscape at it’s peak, right before the first busy weekend. The trail was ideal for the uninitiated…it’s wide, and essentially groomed, and we made great time. At Hojos, we spread out, each finding our own vision of the morning, found what we came for, and witnesses a glorious light show in a special place. It was our own…solitude in a place few find it.
The solitude allows you time to process what you are privileged to observe. The sun rises North of the Carters this time of year, illuminating only half the bowl at first light. The other half is is cast in a great, charismatic shadow from the Lion Head on the northern rim of the glacial cirque. The shadow begins long, and recedes into the increasing brightness of the day. Color changes rapidly as well, from pink to orange to white. Cool blue tones bring color to the shadows.
By 8AM, we had captured what we had come for…but for many the experience was about to begin. On the way out, we met about 1500 strange glances from skiers, climbers and hikers going the other way. Some asked our motives…and we joked that the snow was gone, or that we were off to sell our parking spots. A few likely understood that we were just there, hiking our own hike…just like them.