British Columbia·Our Vancouver

Chasing Sunrise encourages people to appreciate the simple things in life

Two Vancourites formed Chasing Sunrise, an organization that sends people into the unknown for adventure and to watch the sunrise.

Two Vancouverites formed organization that organizes 'adult summer camps'

Meet the founders of unique meet ups and outdoor experience movement 6:10

Friends Julian DeSchutter and his roommate Gordon Swenson weren't morning people at all when they decided to wake up at 4:30 a.m. every morning for 21 days.

Though it was tough at first, they found the quiet time, uninterrupted by email or social media, uplifting — so on the 22nd day they hiked up Mount Seymour to watch the sunrise.

"There was snow, [it was] a perfectly clear day and windy, minus 24 and 60-kilometre an hour winds … and then out of our peripheral vision we saw the sunrise come over and we were just blown away," Swenson told Our Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko.

"We couldn't believe it, this has been in our backyard, it's 40 minutes from our house, it doesn't cost anything. There's got to be more things like this."

So Swenson and DeSchutter formed Chasing Sunrise, which works with BC Parks and companies such as Mountain Equipment Co-op to organize "adult summer camps" and sunrise-chasing adventures.

They recently returned from taking 50 people to Manning Park for a weekend of early sunrises and playing in the snow.

Chasing Sunrise doesn't ban technology use by participants but is often in places where cell service is spotty, so people have no choice but to live in the moment instead of documenting their lives.

In the video above Swenson and DeSchutter talk about their project, how it started, and their plans for the future.

Footage of the hike in the video above is courtesy of HITCASE Chris Wheeler.