Monday, December 2, 2013

Red Mountain Fog

Traditionally Kristi and I have been finding a place to hike on the morning of Thanksgiving day.  We get up early and hike until about noon, then meet with my parents for the holiday family dinner.  We decided to return to one of my favorite wild places near home, Red Mountain. Taking 180 out of town, past the Snowbowl and Nordic Centers, you pass through Kendrick Park and make your way down the hill on the other side. There is a sign pointing to a dirt (or mud) road. Depending how muddy or snowy or frozen it is, you can park near the highway, or continue a half mile to the designated parking area. Shortly before we approached the turn off we began entering a large fog bank.  From clear blue skies to dense fog in less than a mile. 

Fog is a rare occurrence around these parts, so I was excited to experience Red Mountain under these conditions.  A large cinder hill rich in iron oxide has eroded away from the center creating strange conical towers of rusty rock. I have been here before in winter and really liked the contrast of white snow against red cones.  A result of the snow melt, frozen waterfalls drip down each crevasse.  Pine and juniper trees stand frozen in hoar frost. Six inches of snow crunch under our feet as we made the mile and a half approach.  We arrived in total amazement, the sun started shining through the dissipating fog illuminating the back wall and revealing blue sky.

I shot for an hour and a half trying to catch the fleeting light.   Eventually the fog began to settle in heavily, then rise up creating a rather overcast scene. It was time to leave, and soon we drove back into warm blue skies. It had turned out to be one of those perfect holidays to look back on.  A nice hike, a loving girl friend, a walk with our dog, a photographic foray, and a fine family dinner. Among those other things, I was very thankful to have experienced a rare and fleeting moment of light. It's nice to have a day to be thankful for.

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