Camel’s Hump Sunset
OK… no… that’s definitely not Plattsburgh. Must be a plane coming in to Burlington Airport. Those are some pretty bright headlights though. Hmmmm. Maybe, just maybe that is the sun.
After that quick tease however, the sun ducked back behind a set of clouds and disappeared. “OK,” we thought, “now the fiery orb is REALLY gone for good tonight. Good riddance anyway. It’s not like we devoted a good bit of thought and our entire afternoon to trying to watch it set anyway.”
We contemplated packing up and heading down to take advantage of the little remaining natural light in an effort to make the late-day descent a bit easier. We realized however that no matter what, we were going to need to use headlamps before we got to the bottom, and so we might as well stick around until the end just in case. I had the sunset pegged at exactly 8:14PM so we knew when to leave even if we couldn’t see whether or not the sun had set. I played around with the camera a little bit trying to get a view of the summit “lake” and Lake Champlain all in one.
Then suddenly, at exactly 8:12PM and 37 seconds, what appeared to be cloud cover right to the horizon, turned out to have the tiniest of slivers of clear sky in which the sun could poke through. The trigonometry of the situation baffled me: What tiny angle of opportunity must the sun have taken advantage of in order to peek through this window? The probability of the situation astounded me: How many slightly different positions of the cloud ceiling would have completely obscured our view of the red orb? The geometry of the situation floored me: What volume of atmosphere must the sun be beaming through as it shines directly overhead in Alaska to reach my eye here on the top of Camel’s Hump; a mountain which is now almost perfectly perpendicular to its rays? The artistry of nature however was simple.
The thing I like most about sunsets is that you have time to reflect on any number of mysteries you choose to engage. No matter how puzzling your quandary however, the apparent simplicity of nature grinds on, and provides a deadline for your thoughts. Of course, if you fail to reach a solution, you may try to come back again tomorrow and have another go. But the truth is however that you won’t remember what your problem was in the first place since the overwhelming consensus of nature as evidenced by the sunset is simple: it doesn’t really matter. What a relief.
Read about the author: Greg