On the way to the summit of Mt. Evans sits a small 160 acre preserve of some of the world's oldest living trees. The Mount Goliath Natural Area protects a rare site of Bristlecone Pines that make excellent photographic subjects and I had been itching to photograph this particular tree in June of 2014.
I left Denver at night with plans for shooting the Milky Way as a background and arrived shortly after midnight. I set up my tripod and camera, lined up the tree and stars, and fired off my first test shot. After the long exposure I noticed something missing from the shot, most of the stars!
I was then suddenly hit by a blast of wind followed by an explosion of light and sound. A thunderstorm had snuck over Mt. Evans and descended in the short time I had walked to the tree. I immediately ran for my 4runner as another streak of lightning hit the mountain and fat drops of rain started flying. As I dove into my car the storm gained intensity and the rain turned to ice, then snow. I felt relatively safe in my parking spot, but the constant lightning and blowing white had me on edge; I was in a good 'ol ThunderSnice storm!
I decided to wait out the storm with some sleep in the back of the 4runner and luckily had my new puppy Koda with me for extra warmth and company. I quickly dozed off in the storm and didn't wake until the light of pre-dawn filled the sky. As I looked out in my groggy state I noticed everything was covered in a thin layer of clear ice and clouds were playing in the mountain peaks. It was only minutes from sunrise so I grabbed my camera and again ran out to the twisted bristlecone pine.
I almost ripped off my tripod legs in a hurry to catch the sunrise and just as I set up the sun blazed through the clouds and lit up the entire scene. The pinks and purples of misty clouds mixed with the golden grasses and wildflowers covered in ice. I had almost slept through one of the best sunrises I've seen in Colorado, but, fortunately, I captured the amazing scene of winter mixing with summer.