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Friday, December 10, 2010

Colorado Sunrises and Sunsets

One of the great things I love about living in the foothills of the Denver Metro area is that we have spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The sunrises have the benefit of the ozone on the horizon and that adds color from orange to red to yellow and then you get the beautiful blue of the sky.

This morning, we had clouds at several elevations, and with various shapes. At one point (and I wish I had taken a picture, but alas, I was driving), the high thin clouds were all yellow, and the next layer were circular and orangish-red, but cast a dark shadow on the high clouds. All of this was topped off by a few low level and puffy clouds that were PINK! It was amazing and quite entertaining because they traded off colors and contrasts in the span of about 20 minutes.

If you are not familiar with Colorado, our capital of Denver is 5,280 feet, or one mile, above sea level. With the thin air and lack of humidity, we have bluer skies than most of the country as well. We also have the Rocky Mountains. As you approach the mountains, we call those "foothills" because they are smaller than the mountains. (In my experience, our foothills are what the rest of the country, especially in the east, call "mountains"). These foothills start smaller and then get higher and higher until they peak at the Continental Divide where some mountain peaks are 14,000 feet or higher.

Anyway, this mountain range, coupled with high clouds (because the mountains push them higher - I always feel like Chicken Little in lower climates because the cloud ceiling is so low), creates some incredible sunsets. The sun is still strong, but the clouds block it in various ways as the sun ducks behind the mountains, always creating rays of sun and silver linings. Couple that with shadowing on the mountains and we literally end up with "Purple Mountain Majesty".

Starting around September, the higher mountain peaks in the distance sport a layer of white snow. This snow stays until about early July. That is when we know its not too cold to go tent camping in the mountains! But, that has nothing to do with sunrises and sunsets. I digress.

If you ever travel to Colorado, be sure to get up early enough to see the sunrises and make yourself available to see the sunsets, and have your camera ready while parked on a high point. You wont regret it!

Oh, spend a night way up in the mountains and do some stargazing too!*

* I was not compensated in any way, shape or form for this endorsement for the beautiful state of Colorado.

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