The 3 hour time difference between the East Coast and West Coast doesn't sound like much. Unfortunately, when my internal clock woke me up at 4am and I started to have thoughts of sleeping at 7pm, I knew that those 3 hours were going to take a toll on me. So instead of laying wide awake in the early morning hours, I decided I might as well use this to my advantage. 

After checking the time of sunrise, I packed my bag, rented a car, and drove out to one of the most iconic landmarks in Oregon, Mt. Hood. 

As I drove, the congested highways lined with city lights faded into a tight road winding its way through the rolling hills. Soon the only light source came from my headlights and the occasional gas station peppered between long distances. Broad trucks piled with timber rumbled as their engines climbed and descended the steep slopes. Patches of silvery mist speckled the road, creating the illusion of an unfinished painting on canvas. The quiet morning drive went by all too quickly. 

The pink outline of the sun began to peak over the treetops as I pulled into the campground on the outskirts of Trillium Lake. I grabbed my small flashlight, backpack filled with layers, and too-big-of-a camera as I strolled into the brisk morning light toward the water.

I walked quickly toward a small wooden pier where two fishermen stood quietly looking beyond the lake. Their faces reflected a silent gaze of awe asthey took in the sight that towered over the smooth glass water. I approached the pier carefully tiptoeing across the creaking wood. I winced at every creak, afraid to break the fishermen's meditative trance. As I approached the end of the pier I shifted my gaze over to what I can only describe as one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen.


Right across the water. 

An arm's reach away. 

There stood Mt. Hood, tall and powerful, between the quaint forest-green dunes. The sun kissed the top of the royal purple mountain with rays of red and yellow. The only sound that filled the vast space was the echoing woosh of birds' wings that bounced off the crevasses of the giant. 

After I woke up from my initial daze, I wandered around the path of the lake toward the opposite end of Mt. Hood and sat quietly taking in everything surrounding me. I was humbled to sit in the silence next to one of mother nature's profound beauties, the complete opposite of my every-day normal, living in the middle of New York City. 

It was there, sitting on a small stone, in an ear-ringing silence, that a sense of ease slipped over me. The thoughts that routinely swarm my head with overwhelming emotions and worries were silenced. My sunrise at Trillium Lake is where I found refuge from my inner thoughts. 

In the bliss of nature's hand, my problems came into perspective and for a beautiful moment, I found peace.

Isabella Carapella