Stargazing | Travel

Community Sunrise

Most of my sunrises are solo affairs. Occasionally I’ll recruit others to join in, but even then it’s generally a small crowd. So sitting atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park with hundreds of people is highly unusual for me. But that’s where I found myself.

The alarm went off at 3 AM, we wrapped ourselves up for the expected wind chill and drove to the summit. That’s right: we drove. Getting up early was earning it on this day. And initially we didn’t have a lot of company save the stars that opened up above us. But gradually the beams of flashlight increased, like the scene in E.T. without the John Williams soundtrack. Instead the chatter of groups and the barks of a few dogs increased from initially jolting to eventually accumulated background noise. And I settled in for the crush of people to follow. And they came.

The skies brightened until only Venus held out, and the bay below turned from a black canvas to a swirling medley of fog. This sunrise would begin in the swirl, and eventually rise above. In the meantime they still came, hundreds more, but our small corner of pink granite next to a boulder remained relatively sequestered.

A collective gasp rose through the crowd as the sun broke the surface, seeming to hang there for effect before beginning the slow rise. That swirling mist was highlight in the glow, and the show just kept getting better and better. And when it was over hundreds got in their cars and the slow crawl of cars glowing in brake lights inched down towards more elbow room.

If you get up for a sunrise on Cadillac Mountain remember to bundle up, bring something to sit on (sleeping pad, pillow, folded blanket) and bring a red light headlamp as a courtesy to those watching the stars. When you walk up from the parking lot you have plenty of options for sitting down. I recommend descending further down for the better views it affords and for a bit more room to breath. But its crowded for a reason: the view is spectacular.

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