“Early morning is the sweetest time of day, any day. That’s when your senses are keenest, your mind liveliest, your heart most alive and hopeful” – Edward Abbey
No matter what you think of Ed Abbey, he got some things right. Early morning is the best, most enriching part of the day. Plus, you get popular hikes all to yourself. And I don’t mean 8 am. I mean sunrise. First light. I know what you’re thinking… I don’t do early, I can’t get my body going, I’m on vacation and want to sleep in. But I want you to try it anyway, because it’s worth it.
I followed my own advice today, so this is how I find myself alone on a stretch of the PCT trail above Lake Tahoe at 6 am. First, along Echo lake with a few birds singing in the pines – the sun is just rising – then up a small notch above Tamarack Lake. There’s nobody on the trail and my mind is at ease. Later a brief moment of doubt when I lose the trail in some snow and consider turning back, but no, there it is! On a little further to my destination, Lake Aloha. Gorgeous. Still early, it’s the magic hour. The lake spread out before me, sunlight just lighting the mountains across the way, a few scattered campers starting to wake. I love moments like this.
After a few minutes to take it all in, I turn around and head back, happy. There will be time later down on the beach on the shore of Lake Tahoe itself, but my day is already full. Another beautiful sunrise in Tahoe.