A light, week-old dusting of snow lingers amidst Mount Shasta’s glaciers.
The last couple of days have seen the coming of much needed rain to the Mount Shasta area. Rain fell a week ago and then, again through most of Saturday as well as a bit on Sunday morning. Though the storm passed and the sky was clear by midday, the storm has flushed all the smoke and haze away and tamped the fires down. Though I am positive they will flare up as things dry out, this weather has, no doubt, weakened them just as they were weakened with the rain last weekend. Hopefully this will lay them low even more and things can finally settle down.
The contrast before and after the storm was rather striking and worth noting in a few images.
Prior to Saturday’s rain, there was quite a bit of activity in the sky above Mount Shasta. There was a small lenticular above the mountain and many oddly shaped (but non-lenticular) clouds all about. The mountian was not visible from the west due to clouds blanketing the western flanks so I headed around to the northeast, which offered a clear view of the mountain as well as good light for sunrise. Frustratingly, the light never really manifested and I only got a glow around the summit for a couple of minutes. I decided to head back home when it seemed like the sun was not going to breach the clouds to the east in a timely fashion.
Heading back through “the burn” along Highway 97, the wind was powerful and ripped through the burned out trees. The air was hazy with plumes of dust being kicked up from the now burned and brushless hills. The early morning light illuminating the clouds of dust gave the area an eerie feel.
The wind itself was immensely powerful and was hard to keep my camera and tripod upright, at times. Though the video doesn’t do it justice, I tried to capture the power of the event. It definitely felt like a storm was moving in!
I resumed the drive home, but had to stop one more time near Big Springs Road. The sight of the dust blowing through a dense collection of burned out trees was strangely beautiful, in spite of the devestated forest. Looming above it was Shastina and the large dome of a lenticular that had enveloped Mount Shasta. It was a ghostly scene but not without a strange beauty.
The rain fell throughout the day and sporadically through the night. Temperatures also fell until it broked just below 40 degrees. This was all great for slowing the fires down. It also meant that there would be fresh snow on Mount Shasta. We decided to head out to Truchas Ridge for the afternoon. I forgot how beautiful it was out there with clear sky and clean air. The haze had almost become entrenched in my mind but this was a great reminder of how amazing it is out there. The sunset was rather nice too…
We hiked out to Artist’s Point, which might be my favorite place to capture images of the mountain. Though the clouds had all faded, the snow still add a nice touch to the mountain. The light was gorgeous, turning the hills and trees a glowing orange. We didn’t linger here, however, as we continued to Pecos Point.
From Pecos Point, we watched the alpenglow set in on Mount Shasta. A thin layer of clouds manifested at about 10,000 feet on the mountain, creating just a little bit of contrast. A lot of the snow that was there in the morning had already melted but the the fresh dusting, coupled with the glaciers, hinted at what the mountain normally looks like.
While there was minimal cloud activity around Mount Shasta, turning to the north that was definitely not the case. The sky was streaked with clouds that were lit up with alpenglow. It was a spectacular sunset!
We were blessed with an unexpected surprise too! As the light faded, the moon suddenly appeared, rising above the flanks of the Whaleback. There was still a purple glow in the sky that also lingered on the hills of the Shasta Valley. The wind began blowing and we were all awestruck by what a magificent sight we were all blessed to behold. My younger kids began howling like wolves, and kept it up until it was totally dark.
It was a great sunset on Truchas Ridge. The rain had cleared the crud in the air out, made the mountain white(ish) again and cooled the temperatures. It was a perfect afternoon to appreciate the beauty of this incredible region.
With fall upon us, the time is nigh for rain, some snow, lenticulars (although, there were a surprising number this summer!), gorgeous, low light and perfect tempertures. Fall is my favorite time of the year and, with the way the fires have hit us this year, I am ready to leave the summer of 2021 behind and look to the rest of the year! Right now weather experts are predicting a La Nina winter, with heaviy precipitaiton. May the Lord make it so!