Sunday, January 18, 2015

High Desert Winter Sunset, Southeast Utah

[Navajo Mountain in the distance, from Natural Bridges National Monument] 
It's been so still here these winter days. For weeks, with not much breeze. Oh, one more winter storm to freshen things up, then back to stillness.

In the middle of winter, stillness has its advantages. Especially on the high Colorado Plateau in southeast Utah. Cold nights but sunny days. Without wind, the sun feels extra warm. 

An atmospheric inversion of unprecedented longevity has been around for something like a month. Nobody around here has seen this. Fog clouds hanging down in the river bottoms: Colorado River, San Juan River. It moves around a little without leaving. 

[Cedar Mesa Sunset panorama, from Natural Bridges] 
Up here on Cedar Mesa, we're above it. We watch it from afar. People call up here to see if it's foggy way up here, too. Nope, we say. Come on up and bask in the winter sun. 

Being a dedicated sunset watcher, I always find myself scanning the skies to the west in late afternoon. How will the sunset colors be? It all depends on the clouds, because they are the reflectors. Or they close the curtain completely. Or they are totally absent, in which case the sunset is merely, um, nice. 

[Navajo Mountain from across Cedar Mesa at sunset.] 
So here are some from a recent evening here. The inversion was still nuzzling about in the distance. It made the high buttes and cliffs even more prominent. 

Photo location: Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, Utah. 

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