The world was veiled in darkness as I pedaled onto the trails. Dawn in the forest is the animals' time but they let me pass through peacefully. A few mule deer, silhouetted against the purple sky, watched me as I rolled past. The sun began to rise behind bare aspen trees. As I rode through the forest, over ridges, and through gulches, the sky slowly morphed from black to eggshell blue. The photos below show the same mountain from different places on my ride at 6:57, 7:02, 7:28, and 8:13 AM.
I also love the contrasts of shadows and sunlight that are unique to early mornings. Below, when I entered 'Lion's Gulch', it looked like I was plunging into a dark and spooky tunnel. The trail itself was almost invisible but the red rock at the top of the south-facing wall glowed from the rising sun. After winding my way up the gulch, the sun warmed my back, and I cast a long shadow.
I coasted home in full sunlight and took the two younger pups for a short ride up S's trail. The sunlight filtered through the dense Lodgepole Pine Forest. The dogs ran like the wind.