I’ve lived in the Sandy area my whole life and for the first time this morning saw a sunrise behind Mt. Hood unlike any I’ve ever seen before. In theory it should be a frequent occurrence. High clouds gave the sunrise a palette to paint upon, pink and orange. Beautiful but far from unusual. What made this sunrise special was the shadow the mountain itself cast upon the clouds above.

A dark black cone of shadow was cast from the sun rising behind the mountain. It seemed to be standing on its point on the very tip of the mountain and angled up and away onto the clouds above. It would make sense that this would occur often. All that’s required is the sun rising, the mountain standing there, and clouds for the shadow to fall upon. But for some reason I’ve never seen this event until today.

As I was pulling out of my driveway and making my way through my neighborhood to the main street on my way into work, I saw the pink clouds of a beautiful sunrise in my mirror. When I turned right and began riding north I looked over my right shoulder and caught a glimpse of the mountain shadow on the clouds. As soon as I got to highway 26 I headed east — instead of west, toward work — and got onto Bluff Road heading north. There were a half dozen cars at the Jonsrud Viewpoint checking out the same scene I sought. I pulled over, blinkers going so a distracted cager wouldn’t rear-end me, and gazed at the sunrise behind Mt. Hood, and that unusual cone of shadow on the clouds.

It was sublime.