For many, the thought of waking before sunrise sounds like punishment. But throughout the pandemic, Jay Palmer thrived by hiking up Mount Sanitas near his home in Boulder, Colo. “I knew if I started the day watching the sunrise on top of that mountain, it would set my day up for success,” he says.
Mr. Palmer, 43, is a franchisee of Floyd’s 99 Barbershop and operates nine locations in northern Colorado. He made the tough decision to close his businesses temporarily in March 2020, just before the state’s public health order shuttering nonessential personal services, including hair salons.
While figuring out how to keep his barber shops afloat, Mr. Palmer, who is divorced, also was helping to home-school his 17-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. “It was very stressful,” he says. “I realized the only thing I could control was my mind-set. Did I want to be happy, motivated, fit and confident or depressed and overwhelmed?”
Mr. Palmer typically rises between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. In 2019, he kept fit by training for a half Ironman but says the running took a toll on his knees. After his barbershops re-opened in early May, he kept the stress of constantly changing Covid rules at bay with workouts. In August, he started hiking the Mount Sanitas Trail, a 1.7-mile ascent with around 1,300 feet of elevation gain.
“Being outdoors and having the energy of the sun hit me when I reach the summit brings me so much happiness,” he says. To share the experience, he began posting photos of summit sunrises along with an inspirational quote on his personal Facebook page and under the Instagram handle @sanitassunrise.