This adventure started off as a casual conversation about five days earlier while at work. I was talking to my buddies Scott and Justin, about going out to capture the sunrise in a place we had never been. I remembered a photo I had seen not too long ago of this view from Hawksbill Mountain looking down into the Linville Gorge with Table Rock in it. After showing them the image, they were up for going on this adventure. After some research, we found out that the trail name (just Hawksbill Trail) and what time we should leave to be able to hike up and catch the sunrise. Scott ended up not being able to go with Justin and myself. After a few days of stalking the weather and a hectic work week, it was finally time to go on this small adventure. I had to get up at 2:30 a.m., and I was meeting Justin in Elizabethton so that we could take one car from there. We arrived at the trailhead around 5:00 a.m., and we were surprised at how many vehicles were there. I assumed they were all there at the campground portion. We grabbed our gear and started on the trail using our headlamps. The trail was only .75 miles to the summit, and I was ready to get there. The first portion of the trail was smooth, but then we got to a section where it seemed as if it was straight up. Even the switchbacks were up, just up with a turn. I thought to myself, "What is the point of a switchback if you have to climb straight up". My knees were on fire; it didn't seem to bother Justin at all, but for my 390-pound self, it was pretty rough. After a couple of small rests, and one big push, we were there. I instantly through my bag off and sit down. We had arrived about an hour early for sunrise. I chugged some water and put some gloves on and laid back to rest, Justin did as well. It was nice to lay back and look up at the moon, which had a nice moonbow going on around it as well. We had some clouds rolling in, but at the horizon, there were none to be seen. I knew we were going to get a beautiful sunrise, and I was hopeful that the clouds in front of me would catch as well. As the sun started to rise, apparently, so did all of the campers. In less than fifteen minutes, there were 20 people around us. All college kids and they were all talking about there life issues as loud as possible. Usually, I would film here and talk about whats going on, but I couldn't because of all of the fall break kids. I started to zone them out for a little bit once the sky lit up. The color was fantastic, and those clouds in front of me actually caught as well. I framed up a beautiful scene, but it was missing something, it was missing the human element. I just felt this scene needed a person it, so I asked Justin to stand in and peer out in a "HERO" pose. That made the image, at least for me. After capturing that shot, I started to wonder around; there was just so much beauty going on; I didn't know where to focus my attention. I also had to work around the now large crowd of kids. They were everywhere, a selfie here a selfie there, and that's fine and all, but it makes it more challenging. When the sky was at its peak color, I turned around and saw this beautiful pink sky above a section of the Linville Gorge. There were no kids here as well; they were all hovering around where Justin was. I was able to capture one of the most beautiful panoramic images I feel I have taken; this will go in my office for sure. After I captured the panoramic, I started to see some side light lighting up Table Rock. The light only lasted a few minutes; thick clouds and rain were moving in fast. And just like that, the light was gone, and so were we. We started making our way back down the mountain. The fall color was very pretty, but we needed to get back. We both had to be someplace, but I can't wait for my next trip back to here. I think I want to do a sunset here, maybe even a winter one.
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