Fire & Ice
I'll be the first to say, yes every image has a story, but sometimes they really aren't that interesting.
This one, however, well...
I don't think seeing Mt Shuksan in a post of mine comes as a surprise to anyone. It's been my elusive unicorn that I just feel that I haven't been able to get it right for the past 4 or so months.
Last week I felt that I finally had an incredible sunrise. The sky was filled with clouds that lit up as the sun rose behind Shuksan - but I still felt as thought something was missing.
I'm back in Bellingham for a few days this week. I told myself I was going to get up and try again. The weather forecast seemed bleak for Monday morning and when I woke up at 5am and looked up at the sky, it didn't look promising as I could see nothing but blanketed skies. I was tempted to go back to bed as I thought it was going to be a bust, but I forced myself to get ready and head off to the mountain.
The roads weren't exactly what I wanted to deal with in the early hours - snow and ice as I made the climb up from the valley below up towards the lake, some odd thousand feet above. I went from maintaining highway speed from Bellingham to Glacier to a crawl as I cautiously climbed higher and higher. Though the roads were a bit horrendous, the valley started to light up as the sun creeped closer and closer to the horizon. I could see the border peaks change from white silhouettes against the dark sky to glowing pink capped snow cones. I was tempted to stop along the road and grab a photo, but I knew I didn't have time - in fact, I was worried I had already missed the best light at this stage. I wanted to hurry and drive faster, but I knew that if I crashed, well...that would definitely mean I miss the sunrise, oh and that I would have a world of troubles.
I carefully made my way up to the parking area for the lake, the trailhead buried in snow with a path fortunately packed out from weekend visitors. I was surprised by the amount of snow and how the lake was frozen over - I mean after all, it had only been a week since my last visit - now there was at least 6" of new snow.
I made my way down the trail and to the boardwalk and setup. The sky started to glow orange, quite literally appearing as though it was on fire. With each passing second, the sky burned with the morning light as the sun came up. Not only did the sky illuminate with this fiery color, but the snow did as well - it was quite literally a world of both fire and ice. Finally, I was getting the sunrise I had waited all summer for.
And the best part is, I had it all to myself. Not another soul anywhere around, not another vehicle passing by as they had on all of my previous visits - no one, nothing - just me, the mountain and an incredible sunrise. I think nature was saving this one for me - a reward for my relentless pursuit of getting that perfect moment.