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Exploring Parks at Sunrise 🌅

Parks photographed in this blog: Rancho San Rafael Park, Whitaker Park, and Mogul Park

I have always been an early riser. There are a few nice things about getting up early. A slower start to the day, a chance to get more done, time to yourself, being outdoors and seeing some beautiful sunrises. 

If you aren’t used to it, It can be a bit difficult persuading yourself to get up early, out of the house and watch the sun rise. But it definitely can be worth it. Besides the opportunity to be in awe of the colors lighting the sky, research has shown that watching a sunrise regularly can help improve your mood, give you a sense of gratitude, and provide inspiration. Now combine all that plus a walk in a park and you have an enviable way to start your morning.  

Certain times of day that you can count on sharing your favorite park with quite a few other people. Typically sunrise isn’t one of them. This time of year it takes a bit more commitment. Climbing out of bed a bit earlier, throwing on that extra layer of clothing and getting your gloves, but if you do it once or twice, you’ll know it’s worth the extra effort.  

A few things you are going to notice right away:

  • The quiet allows you to hear the sounds of nature more clearly. 

  • With few distractions it is easier to see your favorite park in a new way.

  • The shadows and rays from the sun create designs you won’t see any other time. 

  • Wildlife in the park acts a bit differently than when the park is more fully occupied. 

During the month of February, sunrise starts around 7:30 AM and by the end of the month it is at 6:30 AM. Approximately 30 minutes prior to sunrise gives you enough light to be aware of your surroundings, perhaps see some wildlife, and find a good spot to watch the colors of the sunrise.

There are things you can do in addition to watching the sunrise: 

  • Photo opportunities

  • Geocache

  • Bird watching

  • Quiet reflection

On my recent sunrise trip to a neighborhood park, I brought my camera. The hour before and after sunrise provides wonderful lighting opportunities and great inspiration. No matter the camera you use, sunrise gives you special opportunities to be creative or just to capture what you enjoy.

Another way to add a bit of adventure to your sunrise is geocaching. If you aren’t familiar, geocaching is hiking plus a treasure hunt. Use an app on your phone to get clues to where the eco-friendly treasure is located, usually there will be a small log book to mark your find and then you leave it for the person to find. Many Reno area parks have geocaches of different difficulty levels.

Smaller neighborhood parks can be overlooked because of their size or location. They are worth checking out. In the past few weeks I have made a point of going to a few smaller parks that I don’t normally visit. The sunrise did not disappoint.  Even if it is a little chilly, it was a great opportunity to bird watch and look for other signs of wildlife.  Many birds are most active early in the morning. If you are interested in learning more about the birds in our area and bird watching in general, Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation has resources to help develop your interest in bird identification.  

What I appreciate most after I watch the sunrise is that as I go about my day I do so having started the day in a simple but grand way that sets the tone for my morning.  Maybe I will see you out there one early morning.


About the Author

Denise is a long term Reno resident who feels any day spent out in nature is a good day. She has spent many of the past years exploring with her always ready to go anywhere dog, Bond. Besides being  a regular watcher of gorgeous sunrises, Denise is a chicken farmer and AmeriCorps VISTA Alum. 

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Jul 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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