Sunday, January 31, 2016

Two Views of Mount Scott: Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge: Part 1

I got up early this morning without the need for a wakeup call. The sun came into the open window and I was ready to go. My body clock works like a charm these days.

In retrospect, I would have preferred getting out before the sunrise and had the chance to shoot Mount Scott when the light was at its best, maybe next time.

I passed through Medicine Park before getting to Wichita Wildlife range by 8:15, got something to eat while I could and I was going up the mountain by 8:32-I was a bit early as the sign stated it opened by 9:00.

At this point, I was one of two cars driving up the side of the mountain, a crowd of cars parked at the entrance made me feel like a slacker. People were riding bikes, pushing babies in strollers, walking, jogging.

I passed by slowly with a bit of guilt that I wasn't brave enough to walk the uphill road but I had only an afternoon and lots to do. I loved the fact that there were many turnouts you could pull too and the scenery was constantly changing as you went higher and from one side to the other of Mount Scott.

What was so amazing for me was the silence of the mountain. All you could hear was the wind blowing and nothing else. It was everything I needed. I must have spent an hour just exploring each turnout and finally sitting on a rock surveying the amazing view.

It was there that I felt it, that moment where it doesn't get much better than this. I sat on a cold, brightly colored rock painted with lime green lichen. I watched the occasional car go by on the roads beneath me, they were the size of small bugs.

Lake Lawtonka was pale blue in the wake of the now fully risen sun. I had to work with a polarizer to get full blue in the sky and yet there was an atmosphere-it was the earth just waking up, just taking its first breath.

I made sure I stopped photographing, long enough to be fully present. I watched cactus wrens, juncos and various sparrows as they worked their way through the cedar trees. I couldn't get enough of the peace and solitude, it was truly a beautiful moment on that mountain.

The next time I would return here would be quite different. I was on to my next adventure but I knew I would take another drive up before I left the refuge.

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