I am a morning person. Anyone who has seen me get tired at 10pm or wide awake once I wake up in the morning knows this (Okay, yes Dad, sometimes that is not so early.). So, when our trekking group decided to wake up at 4:30am to see the sunrise, not only was I okay with this decision, I had been doing it for the past couple of days anyways.
The alarm on my watch rumbled me awake in a little trekker’s tea house along the well established hiking path. Only needing to put on my boots because the night time temperatures dipped so low, I slept in all my clothing under the musty blanket provided. I had slept fairly soundly, passing out soon after my head hit the pillow. My roommate, Lucie, however, didn’t. The walls between the rooms were as sturdy as cardboard and as soundproof. We could hear every bit of our neighbor’s long conversation in Russian. It had been going when I fell asleep and was going when I woke up. I didn’t ask about between the two times but feared the worse, seeing Lucie’s tired face.
Lucie, I and the rest of our hiking group slowly plodded outside, where we needed our headlamps to see in the darkness. We weren’t the only ones. Uncertain about the exact route to the nearest peak, we saw other groups walking past. Figuring that they must be going in the right direction because they were going up, not down, we followed.
An hour and 1000 feet later, we reached the peak of Poon Hill. Us and our closest 300 friends. At no point during this trek was it ever a “alone in the wilderness” type of experience. Beautiful views, yes. Solitude with the Himalayas, no. Tourist season had come full strength.
We slowly climbed in one line, following the slabs of stone turned into steps. In front of me was hiker, behind me was a hiker. All of us wearing headlamps. Looking up the hill, I could see the line of headlamps snaking up and around, making one line of light. Slowly the lights were turned off as the sun light began to spread. The sun, itself, was not up but it’s light was running ahead of it coming to us. This haze highlighted the himalayan snow peaks. I watched as silhouettes of giant mountains turned different shades of gray. The closest were the darkest. The farther ones fading into the sky, which was the lightest shade of gray.
The colors began to seep into the picture as the sun continued to rise. Unfortunately, fog began to come as well. As I reached the top, so did the fog. The air there was crisp with elevation and full of a thick fog. We sat up there for an hour, hoping the fog would burn off. It didn’t. But every once in awhile, it offered us a tiny opening through which we could see a snow covered peak, like a little secret.