Written by: Ally Pintucci
I'm humbled. I'm grateful. I'm happy.. but most of all I'm crazy emotional about this past weekend.
We've always talked about doing a mystery weekend with Chasing Sunrise - so when MEC and BC Parks came to us and said they wanted us to run an event, we knew that this was our chance to test out the water and see how people reacted.
The response was overwhelming. It was really touching and inspiring to learn about the incredible people that make up our community. Over 10,000 people hit up our page in a week and we were left to sort through a few thousand applications and narrow it down to 50 people... to say that was easy would be a lie.
50 people that had no idea what they were signing up for, where they were going and who they'd be hanging with.
50 people that we're willing to say f*ck it to any hesitation and take a leap of faith.
50 people who were craving adventure.
50 people who wanted to make it count.
6 AM - Saturday Morning
People piled into the parking lot at MEC. There was hesitation, nervousness, excitement and people taking comfort by spending time on their cell phones. We make our welcome speech and pile everyone onto the bus.
We still don't tell them where we're going.
Music is pumping, the sun is shining and it's crazy to hear the buzz on the bus. I am quickly humbled when I look around to see people laughing with sparkly eyes and remember that none of these people even knew each other 20 minutes ago.
It's going to be a great weekend.
11 AM - Saturday Morning
The bus pulls up to Manning Park and everyone piles into a seating area in the middle of the woods. They still don't know what they're doing here and what's going down this weekend.
We spend so much time stuck in our routine, in the hustle and bustle - in the chaos of life. We work hard and we play hard - but we don't play nearly as much as we should.
After explaining that to everyone you can see that they all agree - and that's why we brought them up there.
The group wanders down a path through the woods to find that we have set up summer camp. 15 tents are already built and are surrounded by hanging hammocks, the Chasecamp kitchen, campfires and a lake. It was a weekend to connect, play kid games and just hang - and that's exactly what we did.
With zero service, it was great to see everyone let their walls down and actually have to connect with something other than their cell phone comfort zone. We play kickball, piled into canoes, went for polar bear dips in the lake, tossed frisbees & sang songs by the campfire while roasting marshmallows.
Photos: Mirae Campbell & Ally Pintucci
While hanging by the campfire that night, someone comes up to me with the biggest smile on their face and quickly pulls me into a bear hug. "I can't thank you enough for putting this all together. This is hands down one of the best weekends of my life".
I take step back to look at everything going on around me and it makes me tear up. Why do we forget what it's like to be a kid? To laugh uncontrollably, to have zero inhibitions, to smile and mean it & to genuinely have fun?
I can finally take some time to shut my eyes and crawl into my sleeping bag happy. I feel grounded and so appreciative.
2:20 AM SUNDAY MORNING
I've been sleeping for 4 hours and my alarm goes off. I poke my head out and can see people crawling out of their tents and headlamps lighting up the campsite - they think we're crazy...
...I mean, we kinda are.
But I couldn't have said it better myself: "2:45 a.m. wake up calls are early, even by our standards. But when it’s Chasing Sunrise setting the alarm, you don’t press snooze."
It's 3:45 and we arrive at the bottom of our hike. For 8 KM, we wander up a windy road to see the mountains start to light up in front of us. We make it to the top just in time to see pink streaks through the sky accompanied by the smell of coffee and bacon...
Ya, we sent up the crew from Fuel Your Fire to cook us breakfast at the top. Magic.
There's something really special about catching a sunrise. It's different from sunset because sunset is common for people; it's easily accessible. You can look out your window, see it on your commute home, walk outside to catch it - you usually share it with a lot of people.
Sunrise, however, is usually planned out and taken in alone - especially when you're forcing yourself to peel your eyes open at the craziest of hours to catch it.
To experience this moment alone is special..to experience this moment with 50 other people at the top of a mountain??
No blog, picture or video can explain it. The energy is out of control and the experience is priceless & irreplaceable.
Photos: Ally Pintucci, Mirae Campbell, Ivan Calderon & Damon Berryman
The rest of Sunday was mellow. We were exhausted from an early wake up and spent the rest of the day taking naps on the beach, playing cards, hanging by the fire and enjoying the last few hours that we had together.
50 strangers came together to adventure and take a risk on a weekend with Chasing Sunrise. We left with new friends, tons of stories and an experience that I'll never forget.
This weekend was proof that people crave this kind of stuff. We're not telling your to quit your job and run away to travel the world to have all of these experiences - but we do always say "You Were Born To Do More Than Just Pay Bills and Die".
Photo: Damon Berryman.
What we mean by that is simple. Figure out what makes you happy, stop worrying about what people think and don't let the rules define or confine you. Play hard, laugh all the time, tell people that you love them - and most importantly: make it count.
We have one life - and who wants to look back at it and wish they had done more?
We couldn't be more stoked and thankful for the unreal companies that all came together to help make this happen. None of this would've happened without you.
MEC Outdoor Nation/Génération Plein Air MEC for asking us to take this event on. For providing the tents, sleeping bags and possibility for this event to go down.
Fuel Your Fire for KILLING it in the camp kitchen this weekend. Seriously, I'll never be able to camp without that standard of food again.
Whole Foods Market Vancouver for providing us with the most incredible groceries for the entire weekend. Definitely a huge part of the weekend
Ultimate Ears for turning the entire weekend into one big dance party and providing us with amazing speakers for prizes!
RYU Apparel Inc. for making the weekend look so good, hooking us up with water bottles and gift cards for the store!
LifeStraw for blowing our mind, and making it possible to filter and drink lake water. Mind.actually.blown.
Vega for the healthy snacks, energy and awesomeness.
Salt Spring Coffee for keeping us awake after a 2:45AM wake-up call!
HITCASE for capturing it all, the rad prizes and sweetest adventure cell phone cases.
and last, but not least
Vancity Buzz for bringing some rad people out as well as helping us spread the word about this awesome opportunity.
We love you and appreciate you more than you know <3