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It was mid October and the weather was pristine, warm, clear, leaves just past their prime fall color, and there were no people hiking in the area. My plan was to hike in the Sawtooth Mountains off trail to a small tarn tucked into the south side of the Finger of Fate above Hell Roaring Lake near Stanley, Idaho. My hope was that the first rays of the sun would shine on this tarn and the granite wall to the west. The trail to the first small lake above Hell Roaring lake is a 150 meter climb on a sometimes steep lightly traveled trail. Above this lake there is no trail and it is a 400 meter climb up a steep talus slope. Some of the boulders on the slope where as big as a house, most a half meter or so in length.
On arrival at the small tarn it was obvious my plan of a sunrise picture on this tarn would not work. There was a small 10-20 meter high ridge on the east side of the tarn, ensuring that no sunbeams would hit the water for at least the first 30 minutes after sunrise. There were two more tarns another 200 meters higher up the slope, but with short October days there was not much time left before darkness would set in. So I camped, no tent, just me in a bag on a rock, on the ridge just east of the tarn. The view to the east was unobstructed to the Boulder White Cloud mountains and the sky was completely clear. The night was breezy but not cold and the stars so plentiful and bright, it felt like you could reach up and touch them. When the eastern horizon started to brighten an hour before sunrise, I knew the better picture would be the incredible orange/yellow glow turning to dark blue on the eastern horizon with the outline of the Boulder White Cloud Mountains on the horizon. The ridge where this picture was taken sits at an elevation of 2900 meters. The highest peaks across the valley in the Boulder White Cloud Mountains reach to 3325 meters tall.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor