During the day the colors of the canyon country are washed out, lossing their rich hues and becoming pale and dull. But during sunrise and sunset, when shadows are long and the rays from the sun are traveling though more of the earth's atmosphere the colors of the desert bursts to life. Reds ignite like fire, the blue of the sky turns a rich turquoise and sandstone cliffs glows the spectrum between white, pink and gold.
I find myself waiting for these this special time of day. Waitingat the edge of some vast canyon or hurrying in my truck to some spot I know will perfectly catch the light. Camera ready. I call these Twilight Journeys.
One place that never fails no matter how many times I've seen them are the sunsets at Grand Canyon. I'm always amazed. Most people choose watch the sun, itself, set over the horizon. Something I've always felt I can do at home. I prefer to face away from the sun and watch the colors of the canyon cliffs come to life. For only at the canyon can you experience the fiery reds, glistening golds and shimmering sand colors that make help make the canyon grand.
Another place that is almost always perfect is the southern edge of Cedar Mesa, the place where Cedar Mesa Music gets it's name. Rising 1,100' above the Goosenecks of the San Juan river, Valley of the Gods and Mexican Hat, on a clear day from any of the vantage points you can see from Ute Mountain in southeastern Colorado to Monument Valley on the Utah-Arizona border.
Below Cedar Mesa from the view point at Monument Valley Tribal Park you can get a close up view of the famous Mittens and if you're there during sunset you can see Ute Mountain to the east and the silhouette of Navajo Mountain to the west. Navajo Mountain is also visible at sunset from Cedar Mesa. It is sacred to the Navajos and like all the mountains of the Four Corners a fixed point on the landscape
To be honest, there aren't many bad spots to catch the end of day in southern Utah, but one of the best is in Arches National Park. So many elements come together there, vast open spaces, playful arches, balancing rocks and views of snow covered mountain. There are so many places in the park where the line between the last rays of daylight and the first shadows of night is a razor sharp line. As if you could move from day to night in a single step as you watch night take over day and swallow the earth whole.
Sunset is also one the most popular time to visit Delicate Arch, the Park's most famous feature. The last time I was there it felt like I was at some ancient temple of stone. As the sun set the arch began to glow gold. Suddenly the moon appeared behind the arch, rising over the La Sal mountains. I climb into the slick sandstone bowl that lies below Delicate Arch, risking a nasty fall, and got a shot of the moon shinning through the arch hole. Nature's Stonehenge.
Views also abound at Bryce Canyon National Park. The elevation at Sunset Point is 8,000' and the canyon, really a series of amphitheaters, tumbles down to the Paria valley 1,000' below. Once again Navajo mountain is visible, if just barely. This time it lies to the east.
From Bryce bands of color are seen in the sky to the east during the last minutes of daylight. They become lighter as they climb higher in to the twilight sky. These bands are the thin layers of the earth's atmosphere made visible, and are the last breath of daylight.
These are but a few of the locations that I love so much during this special time of day. Others happen without warning or expectation. All of them Twilight Journeys.
TWILIGHT JOURNEY is the latest free MP3 download available to memeber of my e-Mailing List. It features a Pat Haran E bass flute made of curly Port Orford Cedar with accents of Redwood and Padauk. Orignially recorded as an improvisation during my concert the Nixon Library in July of this year. Later in my studio I added textures, loops and piano to add to the mystery and emotion of the piece. To listen or download it follow the link below. Then sit back and let your mind and imagination drift.
Join Scott August's free e-Mailing List to listen to TWILIGHT JOURNEY
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