How cool if I had planned this perfectly but the truth is that it was just good fortune to find myself on a high (2,500 feet elevation) ledge exactly at sunrise. All I did was tell myself to be at the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot by about 6:30 to beat the crowds.
But when I pulled in, the lot was almost full. And as I was hiking upward, I saw no one. About 30 minutes before sunrise, along the trail, I looked east:
And it was then I realized why so many people had gotten there so early: holiday, plus no clouds plus relatively late (7:30 am) sunrise brought a bunch of people out to see a sunrise from way up high.
Way cool – and my kind of people.
But I was a tad late so I hurried. This is not the world’s steepest trail but it isn’t Grant Park either. I was out of breath by the time I got to where most people were headed, Rattlesnake Ledge.
The place was jammed with people. So up I went to the middle ledge. There were some people there and I didn’t want to bother them. So up I went some more, to the upper ledge.
Jackpot. That’s just when the sun peaked over the mountains to the east, and I was all alone. I hung out there for a few minutes and started down. It’s Thanksgiving, folks are coming over, and if you call hiking up a mountain slacking – that is, not helping get the place ready – I was slacking.
But halfway between the upper ledge and the middle ledge I ran into a guy going up. He was looking for Rattlesnake Ledge, which he had passed about .4 a mile back. I tried to describe how to find the side trail to the upper ledge but he seemed not too sure of himself so – what the heck! – I volunteered to head back up and show him the way.
Nice excuse to extend the hike a bit.
We hit the upper ledge, stopped at the middle ledge, and I left him at Rattlesnake Ledge deploying the drone he had lugged along:
And by now the sun was creeping higher into the sky:
All in all a nice Thanksgiving morning. For sure, it won’t be hard for me to find things to be thankful for. Or to look forward to. Derek and I are going to hike up Bandera Mountain on Saturday. This one is famous for a stretch near the summit that, for .2 mile, is a foot of elevation gain for every two feet of distance. The views from up there will be superb.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Here is a link to a visualization of this hike: