October 31, 2017
John and I have watched the sunrise together for 18 consecutive days! I had requested of him that we do something special and unique together, something that sets our partnership apart and becomes a sort of ritual. He suggested observing the sunrise together first on October 14, my second day back at work in the Visitor Center here in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California. That’s an easy thing to do where we live in employee housing. Just a fifty-yard walk from our house we can get an expansive view of the horizon! We’ve discovered that the sunrise is unique every day! The colors and clouds play with each other differently in combinations and patterns that astound us anew each day. We’ve also noticed that the effects of the sunrise, light playing on the east facing mountains, varies markedly as well! The mountains just west of our house catch the magenta pink glow of the first light. We have to watch carefully, though, because sometimes the pink begins a partial minute before the sun shines above the horizon. Sometimes, it appears at exactly the same time. One morning, the flat brown hue lingered, as if the glow just didn’t get turned on!
We have also learned that setting ourselves up to witness the sunrise each day requires geographic and topographic mastery! On five of our eighteen sunrise mornings we have ventured to other venues. Even though we knew the sunrise time, we were challenged with a clear view of the horizon. Once, we were in the Borrego Palm Canyon oasis, a beautiful spot in which to start our day, but completely hidden from a sunrise view, secluded under palm trees in the back of a canyon! Another morning we awoke a couple of hours before sunrise, having driven 35 miles to a trailhead at the base of Ghost Mountain, bearing the historic mountaintop homesite of a family in the 1930’s. Surely, this would be a sunrise vista. We climbed the mile-long ascent in the twilight only to find the eastern horizon blocked by a higher shoulder of the mountain! We dashed higher, clambering over granite boulders, racing the light. We aimed for divergent lookout boulders where I made it just in time to glimpse the first orange tip of the sun’s orb. John reached his vantage point half a minute past the start of the sunrise.
This morning, we got up at 3:30 a.m., intent on walking 4 miles in the sandy road of Font’s Wash to the popular icon of the desert, Font’s Point. In the dark, however, we took a wrong turn and found ourselves 1.3 miles astray from our path. We made a quick choice to continue the new route in Short Wash to another viewpoint called Vista del Malpais, “View of the Badlands”. The sandy road slowed our walk, sometimes to a slogging pace. I often walked to the side of the road where the ground was harder packed. Sunrise was predicted to be at 7:03! We made it to the viewpoint, indeed magnificently open, at 6:43. Plenty of time. The sunrise celebration was spectacular, marking our first of 18 days with an overcast sky.
This time, I took a series of photos and posted them here in an album. with the link below.
I’d love to have you join me in the sunrise ritual! Hopefully, you can see it where you are! I used a website to create a calendar that shows the daily sunrise time. It also indicates sunset, moonrise and moonset, plus the six phases of twilight, a new bit of learning for me!
Here are the photos from our Vista del Malpais sunrise! Enjoy!