Our ascent of Mt. Sinai began at 1:00 am in the morning. With our headlamps blazing, we climbed the Camel Path Trail. It's not a clever name. Camels would appear out of the darkness breathing down your neck. The warning of "camel!" was frequent and they don't break for tourists.
We were hiking with the group from the minibus we took from Dahab. Our mountain guide gave us the name "Katrina" which he would scream almost non-stop in a Marco Polo fashion. He would also stop the group for head counts and ask, "Have you seen the woman? The large woman?" After one too many stops and rests on what wasn't that challenging of a hike, we, along with a French artist, decided to push ahead on our own.
We soon met up with a Canadian couple who had also left the Katrina group but didn't have a headlamp. The five of us climbed alone to the end of the Camel Path where the stair climb to the summit begins. When we got to the final concession stand before the summit we learned we were the first ones up. A full three frigid hours before sunrise. We took shelter in the shop where they sold coffee and rented out blankets. We wrapped ourselves up and chatted with our climbing partners.
Soon the shop filled up with other climbers and our guide arrived. "Katrina!" At 4:45 am we walked the final 100 meters to the freezing summit. The group found the perfect spot at the edge and huddled together for warmth. The horizon began to glow long before the sun appeared, lighting the landscape we had just hiked through. Standing in a shivering mass of humanity we waited.
"Here comes the sun!" Temple called out, seeing the orange orb under the clouds. I wish I had said, "it's alright", but I was cold. Besides, it was better than alright. It was biblical.