It’s the best seat in the house in my humble opinion.
A few weeks ago, I shared my absolute favourite sunrise hike near Ottawa with two equally crazy fun friends. The alarm went off at 3am. Oh yes, that early. Did I mention it was a Monday? Anyways, we were on the road at 4am and hiking Manitou Mountain in the pitch black just after 5am.
It was magical.
I mean, thankfully I had my coffee. But ya, magical.
The weather was surprisingly warm for February and the stars were out in all their glory. We parked at the Calabogie Peaks Ski Resort and took the Skywalk Trail up the mountain. Which literally was walking up a ski hill to the top in the pitch black. Talk about working those glutes!
The girls later said that they were happy that they couldn’t see how far up we had to go, ha ha. Slow and steady got us to the peak just fine and most of the way my head was cranked up starring at the stars! Unreal. To have that little moment made my soul happy.
At the peak we searched out the best viewing spot and found a large rock to hang out on. We put down the blankets, put on our warm layers, and snuggled in for the best show Ottawa Valley has to offer!
A little culture if you please…
The area is rich is native history and the Calabogie hiking guide offers this which I love;
The most important concept in Anishinabe/First
Nations/Native American philosophy is the tradition
of intentionally expressing gratitude and thanks for all
that one has, receives and experiences upon the path
of life. Every day is seen as a gift. Even the now
common holiday of Thanksgiving that we celebrate
each fall with a turkey meal is a tradition adopted from the
Native people of North America. A genuine expression of thanksgiving
can be embodied in one traditional Anishinabe word: “Miigwetch.”
Don’t try this at home.
On the way down we grabbed the emergency blanket and slid down. I don’t recommend this. It’s a ski hill. You need helmets. And adults. Apparently, both of which we were lacking, ha ha. It was a darn good laugh though! **shrugs shoulders** Just hike down, it’s another gorgeous view and a good workout for your legs.
Benefits of a sunrise hike.
I’ve always found something incredibly vulnerable about watching the sun rise, almost as if with each moment of rising, equal waves of emotions and energy wash through your very being. (I know, you’re like, ‘Victoria, why so hippie?’. Well, I am kinda hippie and hear me out here because I’m sharing some personal thoughts that are good for the soul.)
- This first is always an instant sense of peace and grounding. Science is even backing us up with research behind the mental and physical health benefits of getting outdoors. There’s just something about seating on a mountain top with a spectacular view ahead that always brings about peace.
- Followed by the absolutely awe and gratitude for that very moment. I mean really? How can you not be grateful? For being physical able to hike up a moment, being mentally healthy enough to appreciate the moment, clean fresh air and a peaceful society. Do you practice gratitude? Taking note of what we’re thankful for is good for your mental health as one study remarks “Expressing gratitude has been associated with increased well-being, decreased stress and feelings of depression and anxiety.”
- And of course, comes the joy and vulnerability of feeling small in this big big world of ours. I don’t mean feeling small in a negative light, rather in the way that give appreciation for the vastness of our world and its possibilities. Each sun rise is the awakening of the world and a gift to the soul.
- Lastly, I’m usually a lone wolf on these adventures but sharing the moment with friends and introducing them to one of my fave hikes (that they can share with others in the future) warms the heart. It’s one of the surprising benefits of hiking that I’ve found in the last two years. A little bit of the ‘paying it forward’ kind of thing.
Watching a sun rise is a great way to get a little fresh air, have a meaningful social with friends, regroup the mind/body/soul. Don’t be afraid of those early hours! Now, I wouldn’t make a habit of waking before the sun since research states that we’re best to wake with it…but an early bird sunrise here and there is great!
Ottawa folks – did you even know we had this sunrise hike option nearby?! **slow whistle** Let me know if you’ve done this sunrise hike and how you enjoyed it, I’d love to hear your comments.
Tips: The drive to Calabogie Peaks Resort is approximately 1.5 hrs from Ottawa. You can get a trail map from the resort info desk if you’re going during the day. There are multiple trail options including the famous Eagles Nest. Always let someone know when you’re going hiking, especially if hiking in the dark. Bring a headlamp, water, warm layers. There’s reception at the peak. Stop for a huge breakfast at the Antrim Truck Stop!