Mount Scott at Sunset: Getting out There

A wonderful trip to Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge.

My intentions were to capture the super moon on Wednesday morning. I arrived at Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge a bit later than I had hoped the night before. I wasn’t able to use a tripod and had to scramble to capture the  atmosphere before I lost all light.

I was just one of three other cars up on the mountain which was a wonderful feeling of desolation and solitude. Th steep grade  to the top of Mount Scott is lined with giant granite boulders adorned with rich yellow lichen. On my last visit I don’t remember the color of the lichen being so vivid.

I saw a small animal crossing the road and what I thought was a raccoon turned out to be a porcupine. I’ve only seen one in the wild before and it was a treat to watch him disappear into the dense scrub.

As I came around the bend there it was in all its glory, the full moon rising above the edge of Mount Scott. Pinks and mauves in velvety waves of clouds surrounded it as it rose into the darkening sky. Below I could see Lake Lawtonka as it snaked through the valley. As the sun set, it warmed all the colors to a reddish brown complementing the blue of the water.

All the lights of the cities nearby had begun to twinkle as the wind blew hard across the mountain. The road winds around the mountain with many views of the valleys and buttes below.  As darkness set in, the rich warm reds gave way to purples and blues that faded into the sunset, a violent flame of color across the horizon.

I reached the top as the light was quickly fading. Photographing was difficult because it was really cold and the wind gusts were constant. The valley below was fading into deep blues and purples and the lights of distant cities set the dark horizons ablaze.

Tomorrow would be the super moon, a grand image of the blood moon, little did I know was that the camera would malfunction and I would be forced to shoot with my Iphone. What followed was a day of peace and calm in a beautiful ancient landscape that I will definitely visit again.