Mt. Adams from Trout Lake · Trout Lake · Washington · USA
October 4, 2014.
If you're a diehard college football fan like I am, it was a day filled with shockers, with an unprecedented five of the top eight ranked teams going down in upset defeats. My own team, the USC Trojans, weren't ranked as highly but suffered an equally (if not more so) ignominious upset at the hands of an absurdly defended Hail Mary from Arizona State as time expired. I wasn't at home to watch the debacle unfold on TV (thank goodness...otherwise I might have chucked something heavy at the screen), having left the deep thigh-burn of the waterfall-packed Lower Starvation Loop Trail to rendezvous in Hood River for a late lunch with my buddy Jeff Chen, who'd just landed in Portland from a trip to China. When we checked the forecasts and webcams for the nearby mountain peaks and saw some promising skies developing around Mt. Adams, I abandoned my plans to catch the game back at home, and instead we headed off for the placid drive-up shores of Trout Lake.
We got there a might early for sunset, but with on-call duties looming the next day (not fun...not fun at all...), I had zero complaints. Instead, I filled my lungs with the fresh autumn air, observed the melodic chirps and sudden splash of an osprey dive-bombing its unsuspecting piscine prey (I'd imagine not unlike how all the losing football teams felt on this day), listened to bull elk bugling in the distance, and watched the interplay of light and shadow unfold around Mt. Adams, all the while sipping on a whipped cream-topped huckleberry smoothie that I'm convinced the barista must've laced with heroin.
Jeff wasn't shy about touting his cloud mojo the whole time, and I have to admit the results on this evening were inarguable. But even he couldn't have predicted the rainbow, which showed up seemingly out of the blue (gray?) given that there was no precipitation in the area to speak of. It was a bit far off from the mountain for my tastes and necessitated the extra-wide angle here to capture it, but we were plenty grateful to be there to witness this completely unexpected phenomenon.
And although my team lost, and as much as Jeff doesn't give a rip about college football, at least his alma mater--my school's bitter rival--lost as well, as Utah upset UCLA to put a capper on one heck of a wild and wacky night.