Happy Fourth of July, 2001!

A Celebratory Sunset

Staying home for the Fourth this year meant family coming over and fireworks in the local park. [Family pictures were taken, but they go on the family website, of course, not this one.]

Before the fireworks, Mother Nature put on her own light show, with several thunderstorms traveling near us and into the sunset. I tried to capture some of the lightning, but failed to. But the yellows of the earlier part of the sunset, and the focussed red of the last couple of minutes, were shockingly intense!

Earlier in the day, clouds were growing from the Troposphere (where we live) into the Stratosphere (where temperatures stop decreasing with height, and rise until they become meaningless for lack of air). At the dividing line between the two is the Tropopause, where most thunderstorms stop growing and flatten out to create their characteristic anvil tops. This one was just beginning to flatten out. (The first house on the left is my neighbors'):

By the time sunset began, clouds of this size were drifting about to the west of us, as seen over the house across the street from us (this is a Las Vegas suburb):

The yellow over the rooftops seemed to be getting brighter, so I hustled to an open space a few blocks away and was astounded at this sight (looking out over an empty lot behind a school):

Under the showers were mountains, part of the Spring Range that forms the Las Vegas Valley's western boundary. As time passed, the mountains became visible:

Every few seconds the view changed:

The mountain with two ears was labeled "The Bat" by our daughter Sara. It was one of my favorite hiking destinations back when I had a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get me close to it.

One of the things you discover when you get close to "The Bat" is that it is two mountains with a very difficult chasm in between. With the rain falling and the light at this low angle, one can see what is normally not visible, the dual-mountain structure of "The Bat:"

That was a 3x zoom picture, this is what it looked like without magnification, still magnificent (a pun was intended, but perhaps not achieved):

I tried twice to climb the left ear of The Bat, and from there cross to the right. Seeing the abandoned ropes and pitons left by those who do that sort of climbing, I decided both times to just go back down. Now, I start on the right and finish on the right, much gentler.

But, enough reminiscing about climbs past, the sunset was progressing, turning red, and moving north. So, I picked up and moved north too.

On the way north, I caught a glimpse of a cloud still growing among the generally dissipating storms:

If it looks like there is a pyramid just to the right of the red area, you have a great eye: it is Lone Mountain, a great summer evening climb in the neighborhood (almost), shown here with a singular little shower catching the last red rays of the day's sun!

Turning from there to the west gave this view through the neighborhood to our immediate west:

I walked just a bit farther north to get these houses out of the picture, and saw the last few seconds of red looking like this:

And finally like this:

After that came the fireworks, also very pretty, and a very fitting end to a deLIGHTful day! Hope yours was as brilliant as ours!

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