Navajo Mountain, winter sunset, from Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah.

Cedar Mesa Winter Alpenglow Sunset

Sunset over Moss Back Butte and Navajo Mountain, from Maverick Point.

Sunset over Moss Back Butte and Navajo Mountain, from Maverick Point.

The storms had passed, and most of the clouds had moved on during the day. But as sunset time approached, enough clouds remained above the western horizon to make a colorful ending to the day quite likely.

Alpenglow on Woodenshoe Buttes, from the Highway 275 curve below Maverick Point.

Alpenglow on Woodenshoe Buttes, from the Highway 275 curve below Maverick Point.

So I drove out to my favorite sunset spot at Maverick Point on Highway 275, which is the entrance road to Natural Bridges National Monument.

Snow covered boulders at Maverick Point.

Snow covered boulders at Maverick Point.

Natural Bridges is at the very northern edge of Cedar Mesa. At the very upper edge of the high desert, below the cliffs that form the foot of Elk Ridge and Deer Flat. Canyons, mesa, buttes and cliffs. And in snow: so spectacular.

Snow draped Utah Juniper tree, Maverick Point.

Snow draped Utah Juniper tree, Maverick Point.

The sun was just above the horizon, just south of Moss Back Butte and north of Navajo Mountain, one of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo Nation.

Navajo Mountain, far in the distance, at sunset.

Navajo Mountain, far in the distance, at sunset.

The sun was soon below the horizon, but the colors were not quitting. In fact they were intensifying. Alpenglow! When the just-set sun is reflecting off the clouds that are just above the horizon.

Which was a big problem for me all of a sudden! I was facing the right direction for sunset. But alpenglow shows up in the opposite direction, to the east.

I jumped back in my truck and drove to find a better vantage point, knowing the Bears Ears Buttes above me were glowing. But I was too close to the cliffs below them.

East Bears Ears Butte, alpenglow.

East Bears Ears Butte, alpenglow.

Finally I had to cut my losses and settle for a few shots of what little was visible of the Ears. Better luck — and positioning — next time!

Photo location: Natural Bridges National Monument entrance road Highway 275, San Juan County, Utah.

Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg

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One comment on “Cedar Mesa Winter Alpenglow Sunset

  1. Pingback: A Feeling of Great Happiness | Chris' Journaling Journey

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