Life has been hectic the last few weeks, as we have been getting our new animal hospital, Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, off the ground. While it is great to be nearly overwhelmed with new clients, we haven’t had time to hear outside for more than a walk through the forest around our house. Fortunately, I managed to get out this morning for a sunrise and some much needed solitude. It just happened to be a blustery morning, as the weather system is starting to change and precipitation, which is desperately needed, is finally starting to come back to the area. This made for some great morning scenery.
Mount Shasta itself was partially covered by clouds and only partially visible. There were some interesting, nearly lenticulish clouds south of the summit. These managed to catch some of the light from the sunrise and made the scene a little more interesting. While the clouds flowed over the mountain, the gentle but steady breeze and the birds were coming to life, alerting everyone that the day had begun.
I climbed up to the top of Jemez Hill and took in the vista to the east. The sun had risen but was obscured by clouds, casting beams down in odd directions. Large plumes of dust were being blown off of the flanks of Mount Shasta. The dust is a consequence of last summer’s Lava Fire. Without the vegetation covering the sandy lower slopes, a lot of particulate can be kicked up into the air. Although it is an unfortunate result of the fire, I must confess that it does have a certain foreboding beauty.
Turning to look south from the vista on Jemez Hill, Mount Shasta dominates the southern viewshed. The mountain remained covered by clouds but the lenticular-like cloud over the summit continued to circulate. The cloud constantly changed shape as the wind pushed the formation around.
Suddenly, to the west a rainbow burst out of the clouds. This was the second time this morning that a rainbow was visible in this area. The first time I had not managed to get up to the top of Jemez Hill in time to capture it. This time I was in position and was able to get a view of it over the arid, high desert landscape.
The rainbow arced from west to north. I ran to a vista on the north side of Jemez Hill, where I could see the rainbow coming down over Cerro Pedernal and Tesuque Valley. I was able to capture an image before the color had dissipated. While the other scenes had been beautiful, something about capturing a rainbow over Pedernal was particularly gratifying.
I headed home after the rainbow disappeared but the breezy morning spent on the ridge, watching the sun work its sunrise magic on Mount Shasta and the rest of the Shasta Valley had been quite satisfying. The weather continued to fluctuate the rest of the day. Eventually we headed up to the clinic in the afternoon, to do a final test on the dental equipment before putting it to use during the week.
On the way north, Mount Shasta was graced by a beautiful lenticular stack. I stopped and captured some pictures of it before we went on our way. I was grateful I did, as the clouds grew and overwhelmed Mount Shasta, a portent of the changing weather system. I am hopefully that we are moving back into wetter weather and we will have a miracle March!