White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Along the Sunset Trail

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2016

As the day moved towards evening, more and more clouds were reporting for sunset duty.  Previously, on a hike in Nags Head Woods, a little parcel of land owned by the Nature Conservancy, I had found a path that terminated in the bay and thought it might be a good place to observe sunset. So I took another little hike down to check it out.

Just before I arrived at the parking lot,  I saw the sun go behind a huge cloud bank.  I thought that sunset would be a bust, but, since I've experienced this before and had the day go cloudy, then come back to sunny, I went ahead and began my hike.

  I enjoyed the peaceful solitude, unbroken by a even a bird call or the scold of a squirrel.  I took pictures of glowing leaves, the last leaf on a young oak tree, and the view of the trail in front of me as it wound through mostly pine trees interspersed with a few oaks and sweetgums. When I got to the first open place,  with a view of  the sound, I got a few pre-sunset pictures and thought that was the best I would get. Just past that spot, I stopped to admire a huge tree that appears to be dead or mostly dead. Then I noticed that the light was getting brighter. When I reached the end of the trail, I found the solid cloud was breaking up into thousands of fluffy clouds, leaving spaces for the sun to play hide and seek.


This now rare glow caught my eye

The trail is made even quieter by the pine needles which muffled my footsteps

I thought this pre sunset would be all there was to see

And old tree cycling its nutrients for new growth

Sun behind clouds but clouds are breaking up

I watched earth, air and water produce beautiful bubble art along the shore


The last bit of the sun disappearing behind the horizon 

Then lighting up the fluffy clouds that formed into a huge set of rays by themselves. 

Then being chased off by the darkness

I hiked quickly back to the road to beat full dark.  But when I noticed the sky showing near where an accessible trail went, I decided to take a quick look.  By this time, the sky was so dark, that I could only get the next images with my camera set to take hand held night scenes.


Going......

Afterlight reflections in a pond

Looking up from the parking lot

I started home, feeling happy that I had had an entire day filled with beauty. (I had explored Manteo that morning.)  Then, just as I made the turn to the the road my house is on, I spotted the moon rising over the beach houses.  So I grabbed my camera and got one last picture.


Hello, New Moon

And my body felt invigorated by moving for nine miles, at least eight of which I was hiking, all the while collecting beautiful memories.