The sun will rise in the morning – that’s a fairly dependable assertion. Whether we’ll be able to see it, due either to overcast skies or because the Earth was obliterated during an overnight asteroid assault, is less reliable.
But when you DO catch a dazzling sunrise, the kind that earnestly lights up the sky in blazing oranges and reds and purples, it feels like you scored the only seat in the house for the sun’s most-sensational performance.
Trying to catch a sunrise from the summit of your favorite big hill has additional challenges. You could hike all the way up only to be met with clouds. Your hiking pace could be slower than planned and the sun’ll come up while you’re still buried in trees. You could get to chatting and inadvertently follow a snowmobile trail for too long, again missing that magical moment when the sun finally ends its hours-long game of hide-and-seek.
All of these things have happened to Kirsten Beverley-Waters and I in our attempt to do a winter sunrise hike. Were we deterred? NO. Well, honestly, yes. But that’s not what this story is about. It’s about triumph!
Kirsten and I met in the dark in the trailhead parking lot for Mount Crawford, just off Route 302 in New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch. The Mount Crawford Trail is approximately 2.6 miles one way, with an elevation gain of 2,116 feet. On our early March hike, the trail was well-packed with little ice, making for easy travel as we moved upward by the light of our headlamps.
Slowly the sky grew a little less dark, until we could see a warmth spill over the horizon as we looked east through breaks in the trees.
And then there we were, on top of Mount Crawford watching a new day’s sunlight spray paint the clouds.
Mount Crawford Trail
5.3 miles out and back. Elevation gain of 2,116 feet
Trailhead on Route 302, Hart’s Location, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire
FMI: www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-hampshire/mount-crawford | Directions to trailhead