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Vancouvering

Metro explores the latest trends emerging on the West Coast of Canada.

Vancouver outdoor adventure groups chase the power of early morning

Vancouver Trending: Get up early, really early, and experience the energy and beauty of the beginning of the day

A hiker gazes out at the sunrise with Chasing Sunrise.

Ivan Calderson/Submitted

A hiker gazes out at the sunrise with Chasing Sunrise.

As the sun slowly illuminates the city, a growing number of people are starting their day with fresh air and a healthy dose of adrenaline. From triathletes perfecting their swimming strokes to sunrise running groups rounding the Seawall, for many, early morning in Vancouver is a time of inspiration.

Julian DeSchutter, who co-founded the outdoor adventure group Chasing Sunrise with Gordon Swenson, put it this way," At that time of day, no one wants anything from you, there are no meetings, no email, just time for yourself. There is this energy at the beginning of the day, a silence."

Chasing Sunrise evolved out of a challenge. Roommates DeSchutter and Swenson made a pact to wake up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 consecutive days. As entrepreneurs, they had heard all the clichés about successful people "getting up early and going after life."

It wasn't easy, but for DeSchutter, "it was a powerful experience. " On the 22nd day, they decided to keep going. To celebrate, they climbed Mount Seymour. It was a windy November day in 2014, -20 degrees, but as the sun rose over the mountains, DeSchutter thought "this is the type of thing I've always wanted to do. Maybe it's us holding ourselves back from the experiences we want."

They soon decided to return, so they put it up on social media; eight people showed up, including long-time members Ally Pintucci and Taylor Smith and the next time it was more than 20. Now their events, like climbing up Seymour on Canada Day to sing O Canada as the sun rose draw hundreds.

A crew of Chasing Sunrise hikers on Canada Day as the sun rises.

Kiefer Irvine/Submitted

A crew of Chasing Sunrise hikers on Canada Day as the sun rises.

Their goal for 2017 is to have an event every week, "building a community of like-minded people."

One woman who participated in a Chasing Sunrise event recently wrote a long note explaining how it had shifted her entire attitude. While the effects are profound, the message is pretty simple said DeSchutter, " Go do the things you want to do."

The November Project (NP) is part of a free fitness movement, using social accountability to get people moving. They meet every Wednesday, rain or shine, at 6:29 a.m. in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Co-leader Melissa Garner admits she will never be a morning person, but for her, it "sets the tone for the day" and makes her want "to high five people on the way to work."

Chasing Sunrise hikers start before dawn.

Tung Ngo/Submitted

Chasing Sunrise hikers start before dawn.

Co-leader Richard Hortness concurs. "There is something special about meeting other people that are just as tired as you are, giving them a hug, and getting your daily workout done."

NP "has such a positive effect on people, whether it has brought them out of a slump, gotten them to sign up for the first race, or get a personal best," said Garner. Hortness notes that leaders are paid only in what they call "pay days'" when someone shares their story of success or survival.

"The community is phenomenal," said Garner. "You show up once and you'll leave knowing you're now part of the group."

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