Hop Valley Sunrise
Acrylic on Oak Cabinet Door
Approximately 12" X 14"
We shouldered our packs in the dark. Headlamps in place, we set out on the steep trail rising from the canyon cradling La Verkin Creek. I'd never hiked in the dark before. My head down, with intense focus, I plodded up the trail. When we hike, we have a running joke when someone stumbles: "We're not carrying you out of here, so you better be careful". I always laugh, but meanwhile my stomach does flip-flops and I mind my steps ever so carefully.
The morning was cool—in the high 30s—yet with the effort of climbing it wasn't long before we stopped to peel off a layer or two of clothing. By the time we reached the top, it was light enough to see, but the sun hadn't risen over the walls that lined the valley ahead of us. We hiked in deep cobalt shadows while the sky grew brighter and bluer.
Then, ahead of us, the sun began to hit the east-facing wall—bursting into a blazing coral, then orange, the folds and shadows shifting to purple. We were still in the lee of a jutting ridge, yet the fiery reflection reached back to where we crossed the meandering creek. It lit our hearts with its brilliance. We paused and watched the show as the sun fully crested the ridge, and then stepped into the full light of the new day.