The eastern sky had been glowing pink since before Kingston, and I knew as I drove over the hump to Boxley that for the second time in three weeks I was going to be late for a sunrise. What clinched it was that at the bottom of the hill when it came time to bear right with the highway to head towards Cave Mountain Road, I knew with a moral certainty that I had to turn left and make a beeline for the outhouse at the Ponca bridge. Gentle reader, there was an eruption coming, and soon. But fortunately I made it in time, and I'd like to thank the park service and taxpayers everywhere for the fine Ponca bridge facilites, which have rescued me from calamity more than once. And if you haven't been there lately you have a treat in store, as the port-a-potties have finally been replaced by a well-ventilated permanent outhouse.
Now, was there still a sunrise to shoot? We revved up the old jalopy, pointed her south, and pulled the trigger, and discovered as we got a good view to the east that, miraculously, we still weren't too late, although the colors were getting pretty intense and surely couldn't last much longer.
As we were chugging up Cave Mountain Road we met the one and only Tim Ernst heading down the mountain in a hurry, which when you think about it strongly suggested that I was going in the wrong direction if I wanted to get a good photograph, because surely that was where Tim was going, and who would know better where to get a good photograph, me or Tim Ernst? You see my point.
Later I saw in Tim's journal where he had been headed. Turns out he had the great idea of photographing the sunrise from Boxley pond, which I wish I had thought of. But back on the mountain, as Tim was hurrying down to get to Boxley pond, I was hurrying up to get to the Hedges pour-off overlook, but not so much for the sunrise itself, although that was an added bonus. What I really was hoping was that there would be some color down in the southern sky over the upper Buffalo wilderness. Turns out there was.