Rattlesnake Mountain upper ledge – Thanksgiving 2015

The actual sunrise
The actual sunrise

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:

30 minutes before sunrise
30 minutes before sunrise

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:

Alex and his drone
Alex and his drone

And by now the sun was creeping higher into the sky:

Now the sun is starting to climb
Now the sun is starting to climb

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:

http://adventures.garmin.com/en-US/by/djhiker/rattlesnake-to-upper-ledge-11-26-15/#.VldWmZXlteU

 

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