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Sunrise at Misery Ridge

According to the TPE we should have a killer sunrise tomorrow, says Andy, a good photographer friend of mine. I had just finished checking that. It sounds promising and it’s worth getting up early. The lighthouse is charged, unlike last time. This will not be one of those times to have a dead lighthouse.

It’s Saturday morning and the heated seats are heating things up. I headed to Mcdonald’s to meet my fellow comrade Andrew Sambuceto for the traditional pre-champions photo tour weekend breakfast of sausage biscuits and a large coffee. February 22nd brings a chilly morning and many thoughts about what Misery Ridge in Smith Rock will bring. Dim lighting to start the accent, narrow footpaths for loose feet and stairs as far as one could see along the rocky cliffs. It is imperative to walk carefully on this journey, as any kind of careless step could lead to sure disaster in this area.

Breathing is too easy to see when we separate from the truck. Backpacks securely tied, headlights on. Visibility not beyond what the headlights allow. We begin the hike into the canyon. This is what excites us. The journey for the next world class sunrise photo. That’s what we tell ourselves anyway. 75 yards into the climb, the cold is replaced with sweat and exhaustion as we climb one step at a time. “What the hell was I thinking!” were just some of the thoughts that came to mind at 5:30 am on the side of a hill. Sharing a few laughs and comments about age and how fat and out of shape we were filled the morning air along with continued heavy breathing between the two of us. After at least 8000 switchbacks, 6747 stairs, 800 slips and 2 quads that were literally smoking and on fire, we made it to the top.

Taking the morning view as the sun showed the first signs of life on the horizon. We immediately set the path to our shooting location, or look for a new location. After many spots along the back of the state park we landed back towards the peak which overlooks some of the largest creations of the gods one could see. There wasn’t the sunrise color we had hoped for, but the experiences we gathered from another great morning holding a camera, enjoying the peaceful silence and views as the sun hit the rocks and deflected into heavily shaded pockets along the rocky cliffs made it was all worth it. . Conversations with Andrew sharing the same love and enthusiasm for even the smallest event that will create an interesting image are the main theme as this journey comes to a close. Back down the mountain we traveled. Another great weekend morning.

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