Have you ever watched the sun rise at 12,000 feet?
It’s 5:45 a.m. Carol was still sleeping and I gave her a little poke, “wanna go watch the sunrise atop the mountain at Loveland Pass?” A series of grunts, moans, and leave-me-alone type sounds ensued, so I donned my clothes and off I went on a solo adventure.
As we were staying at the Keystone Lodge and Spa, the Loveland Pass was a mere eight miles up Highway 6. Driving up the mountain, there was only me and a red Audi with a mountain bike strapped to the back. The sun had not yet risen, so we drove through dark valleys with only a grayish light in the sky as morning approached.
Driving through a long series of switchbacks, I snapped this photograph at 6:30 a.m. as I watched the mountain shadow slowly move across the landscape as the sun continued its journey towards its afternoon zenith.
The mountain’s colors transformed before my eyes from muted grays to a wash of reds, pinks, yellows, with the evergreens taking on various brighter shades of green.
The temperature was 50 degrees, however, with very low humidity and fairly strong winds, my eyes were quickly streaming tears from the wind and my skin more resembled a chicken’s as goose bumps quickly covered my limbs. To add to creation’s clear domination of my body, I was completely out of breath and doing some major-league huffing and puffing as I climbed the roughly thirty steps atop a little knoll to get a full 360-degree commanding view of the Rocky Mountains that completely surrounded me.
In spite of my body’s objections to the elements, I stood alone atop the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass for about 10 minutes, completely alone and in complete silence other than the howling winds.
My eyes has decided that a steady stream of tears was now necessary, I said a quick prayer of thanks to God for allowing me to experience this spectacular landscape and hurried down the steps to my awaiting, warm Nissan Ultima rental car.
When I returned to the room, Carol was still sleeping. When she finally rubbed the sleep from her eyes and took a gander at my new collection of photographs, she was impressed with the majestic views. However, the photograph, regardless of how beautiful it may be, can never replace the experience.
I’ll forever fondly remember my solitary sunrise experience atop Loveland Pass.
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