Color Wheel Sky

Sunrise at Sunrise … finally!

I was heading out of town the first of July so I missed opening day at this mountain paradise. Glad I waited. It seems I picked a perfect day (though I have never had a bad one here).

I arrived at Sunrise Point just after 5am and waited for the morning color wheel sky to emerge. It didn’t disappoint. It never disappoints. The fiery sky to the east, the purple and pink alpenglow to the west were stunning. A serendipitous beginning. 

I was meeting a friend and we decided to tackle the very moderate 5 plus mile Fremont Lookout hike. The lot had just a handful of cars and the bathrooms are open and (mostly) stocked. We put on spikes in the parking lot. The trail is covered in snow and until it melts a bit more to reveal the boundaries the meadows are at some risk of being trampled. Be gentle. Step lightly. We tried to stay on trail from memory but with nothing defined it is a challenge. 

Just a few minutes into our walk as we approached Sourdough Ridge we came upon the most beautiful Cinnamon Bear! I have seen bears here in past years but never this close to the trail. She seemed unconcerned with company as she grazed in the meadow and ambled around the melted out spots. 

Arriving at Sourdough Ridge we were surprised by the volume of snow along the path. I go early every year and I don’t recall it ever being quite so much. Easy does it, ( we suggest spikes and poles) all along the ridgeline to Frozen Lake. It is familiar rocky trail past Frozen Lake all the way to the lookout. (Just a few snow crossings at the top). 

There were birds …

And chipmunks …

And marmots … 

And flowers and flora …

The mountain never showed herself fully but even the clouds made for some great drama. With most of the color drained from the sky  it was the edges of rock and light that stole the show today. I love this chiseled landscape. 

Returning to the Visitor Center we were surprised by the full parking lot. And I do mean full. So many people. I suggest as early a start as you can muster. I reported our bear sighting (they keep a log at the Visitor Center) and headed home. We came, we saw … we did it!

19 Comments on “Color Wheel Sky

  1. Pingback: Sunrise 2.0 – In Search of the Very

  2. I can “hear” the nature healing in your words. This was a beautiful trip and I’m so pleased to share the colours with you. That gorgeous bear, oh my goodness. Love the shot of the fleeing mountain bluebird, ha ha.

  3. Thank you for taking us up there with you! Nice combination of beautiful photographs, narration about majesty, and honesty about the potential dangers of early snow hiking. And the bear! Gorgeous!

    • Thanks so much, Ann. I am actually happy to see the snow because the past couple years have seen more drought-like conditions at the mountain. Late snow will shorten the season but be better for the environs in the long run. Thanks for writing.

  4. Wow. Glorious day, spectacular photos. The bear was an extra special treat! And would not have spooked me . . . however, hiking those ridgelines in snow? Yeah, no. I admire your bravery.

    • Yes, that ridge IS pretty scary, but not asbad as it looks. The bear was fabulous. Since you signed on as a meadow rover I am now hyper aware of the presence of volunteers on the trail. I spoke with three women volunteers, and then a ranger when I reported the bear after our hike. You’re going to be great at that rover gig!

    • Thank you so much. It was such a good beginning to hiking season at the mountain. I have never seen a cinnamon bear there so close to the trail. I was a safe distance away, but nice to watch her amble around the meadow.

  5. The bear yes…and the black and white clouds/rocks/snow. Mountain magnificence… and reminds me that when I am (human)world weary, I try to remember that perhaps the ultimate purpose of the human being is appreciation of Nature’s beauty. Off to a good summer for you.

    • Thanks, Christina. Wise words and a really good reminder of how to fulfill a higher purpose in our short time here. I’d call this a very serendipitous beginning for sure! Thanks for being here.

  6. Absolutely beautiful, so glad you made it there in all of its glory. And that bear… how do you know you are safe?? And what kind of bird is that – so beautiful! Thanks for the armchair ridealong!

    • Thanks for joining me, Nancy. (My camera zoom gets me pretty close. We were never in danger from Mama bear). I went back and captioned the bird. Clark’s Nutcrackers are abundant there as are fox sparrows, chipping sparrows and mountain bluebirds. It’s really stunning at Sunrise in all of its drama. My favorite for sure* Thanks for writing.

  7. This pics are amazing! We have never camped at White River-seems so far away for us. We usually stay at Ohanapecosh, Cougar Rock or in the old days, Sunshine Point. We scoped WR out last year and decided we should explore. We plan to stay there for our anniversary later this month. I’m hoping there will be less snow at Sunrise by then! We saw a bear last year from one of the Sunrise trails but so far away… Thank you for this post!

    • Thank you, Bailey and Happy Anniversary! I hope to camp at White River this summer too. Sunrise is easily my favorite spot and I’m hoping it melts out soon too. The flowers are likely to be peeking out by months end, I hope you have an awesome visit! Thanks for writing*

  8. Wow Wow WOW, all of it simply stunning, and the bear is such a bonus. Beautiful!

    • Thanks, Jocelyn. Such a wonderful morning. Early is definitely best to experience the Park. I loved my day. Can’t wait to go back.

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