Winter Sunrise on Beaver Mountain
Winter Sunrise on Beaver Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
This grove of aspen was the centerpiece for Sunrise Aspen, one of my all-time favorite fall-color images. I loved the way the light from the rising sun played out on the trunks of the aspen grove and also liked the way the strong diagonal line of the tree tops was balanced by the rising sun. Five years after shooting Sunrise Aspen, I decided to try for a winter version.
As usual, the approach in winter was longer and more difficult than in the summer. The summer trailhead for Beaver Mountain is closed in winter, so I got up at midnight and drove to snow closure on the Fern Lake road. From there I bushwhacked up a steep hillside until I intersected the summer trail, followed it briefly, then bushwhacked up another steep hillside to the grove, arriving rather bleary-eyed more than two hours after leaving my truck. Dense clouds to the east made it look like I'd exhausted myself for nothing, but the rising sun found a tiny gap just above the horizon and for a few seconds the clouds lit up with intense color. The light show ended as the sun rose into heavy clouds. I plodded back to the truck under gray skies, drove home, and took a long nap.