Waking Up EarlyWednesday, September 7, 2016
All Photos: Louis Arevalo
At 5:15 a.m., the thermometer reads 6° F. Gathering skis, poles and pack and heading out, I notice my eyelashes and the hairs in my nose crystalizing in the predawn air. Joining Caroline Gleich and Rob Lea at the trailhead outside of Alta, Utah, we take a moment beneath the stars piercing the nocturnal sky. I’ve never regretted waking up early.
As we leave the road, we are confined to the world within the reach of our headlamps, three rays of light dancing through the darkness. Reaching the ridgeline, the temperature drops below zero, punctuated by an arctic wind, and as we boot to the summit of Mt. Superior, the breath-stealing wind relents just in time for us to witness the sunrise. Light touches the higher peaks of the Wasatch first, moving from pink to burning white.
As Rob and Caroline prepare to ski, I find myself searching for a reason why experiencing a sunrise is so worth the struggle of waking up early. Then, as Caroline drops from the ridge, vanishing into a plume of winter smoke and then reappearing to carve a perfect turn across the pink-tinged snow, I find my answer.