As a photographer, I really don’t like your average day hike. Too many people start late in the morning and the entire hike ends up being during the harsh light of day. To be sure, you can still make a quality image or two, but for me the best hiking has got to be done at dusk or dawn. In Yellowstone this is a bit complicated due to our friend the grizzly bear. You can’t just go it alone like you would normally as you don’t want to run into a bear when you’re by yourself, and dusk or dawn just happens to be when you’re more likely to. So I had to do some convincing to get friends willing to stand atop a 10,500 ft. summit at sunset and work our way down the mountain at dark. I have some good friends.
It was the descent that I most loved. There’s always something about hiking beyond dusk into the night that creates a sense of the epic. The white bark pines had been descimated by a bark beetle so there wasn’t much bear food around, so less to be concerned about there. As we descended slowly we watched alpine glow give way to the darkness. I made a hand held shot of the constellation Scorpio, a constellation that fills the southern sky. By waiting a little, we watched the Milky Way begin to take shape in the night. It was perfect, and I was rewarded once again by spending time in the wilderness on the edges of the day.