On a quest: Sopris sunrise | AspenTimes.com

On a quest: Sopris sunrise

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart

MISSOURI HEIGHTS – Early mornings that should find me in the gym, breaking a sweat on some contraption and keeping pace with a beat that has no place in the pre-dawn stillness, have given way to a new pursuit of late. I’m watching the sun rise.

It began with a chance glance out my window last week, as the first hint of daylight streaked the sky in shades of pink. On a whim, I grabbed my camera and headed up onto Missouri Heights, following the muddy road that leads toward Basalt Mountain. I had the perfect spot in mind to watch morning unfold on the face of Mount Sopris, which was coated again in fresh snow.

The pink had disappeared, but I watched in silent awe as the sun, still unseen below the ridge behind my back, painted the landscape in a progression that began in the clouds shrouding the mountain’s summit and advanced down its gleaming flanks.

Elk, startled by my presence, crashed across the road and joined a larger herd in a distant meadow, leaving me to bask in birdsong and solitude. This could easily erase the gym from my morning routine.

The clouds appeared to glow from within as the sun crept toward the crest of the ridge. Each moment offered breathtaking perfection, only to be eclipsed seconds later. Postcards from heaven, was all I could think.

Several days later, with Sopris completely obscured by low-hanging clouds from my vantage point on the valley floor, I headed up the hill again. This time, the summit poked out of dense cotton ringing the mountain’s lower slopes. The wind was biting and I tugged my ski cap close over my ears.

The subtlety of this sunrise, bathing the twin tips of the mountain in soft light, couldn’t have been more different than the one I’d watched a few days earlier.

It is my new obsession – this scene. Like snowflakes, I suspect no two are alike. I want to see them all.


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