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Monday, August 20, 2018

Incredible Canary Islands Sunset Seen from Above the Clouds

Preview shot of the article below.  Facebook picks up the first photo in a blog post, so it has to be one of the best, even though it is totally out of order.  I hate this, but it's true, people won't come see the rest if the picture isn't that interesting.  Read on for the story.  This photo catches the sun just as it slips over the horizon. The mountains of La Gomera, over there across the ocean, are visible on the upper left.  

So, back to the order of things as they should be, starting here.  After a short hike where we took that photo of the pines reclaiming the lava in front of the volcano, it was late in the afternoon.  Instead of returning to the lodge, we decided to explore the other side of the park.  Since we were in the Mount Teide National Park, we were still at a pretty good altitude.  As we came around the bend in the road, we realized we were looking down on a cloud bank over the ocean, beyond the pine forests.  What a cool view! 

I stopped the car along the side of the road to take the photo above.  This part of the park has no view of the volcano, so it was pretty quiet.  Only a few cars passed while we hung out taking photos.  Here's Jennifer taking pictures.  

In most places along this road in the national park, there is nowhere to stop and park your car.  You have to find one of the few places without guard rails, cliffs, or boulders.  We found one place with a short concrete parking pad just a little further down the road, with one car already parked on it.  We had a bit of an adventure there, as I didn't realize the pad had about a foot-high dropoff at the back side of it.  I was trying to wedge our car next to the other one by parking at an angle and backing in.  In the middle of this process, I heard someone outside the car yelling "STOP!"  I turned off the car and put on the emergency brake so I could see what was going on.  

A couple was coming back to the car parked next to us.  They were the ones who had yelled.  I looked down to see that I had driven one of our back wheels off the edge of the concrete pad - it was hanging in midair, with a vertical drop of about a foot below it.  Luckily, all I had to do was get back in the car, and drive forward a two feet.  Whew, that could have been a real pain!  

This is one of the pictures taken minutes after all that excitement. There's nothing but ocean under all these clouds.  

As obsessed as I am with photo opportunities, it immediately occurred to me that was an amazing setup for a sunset.  So, despite the fact that we were almost two hours before sunset, we decided to stick around to see how it turned out.  It was definitely worth it.  

I know most of you are looking at these on mobile phones.  That kills me, because these should be seen on as large a screen as possible!  Well, at the very least, please rotate your phone sideways to see these full-screen on that teency device!   

In this early phase, you can see the rays of the sun filtering through the clouds just near the mountaintops of La Gomera, another Canary island just west of us.   

The photo below is really deceiving.  At first glance, that bright spot in the sky looks like the sun, but the sun is below the horizon.  That bright spot is actually a reflection of the sun in the high altitude, icy clouds.  

In this one, another Canary Island is visible to the northwest, the island named La Palma.    

A little closer view toward La Palma.  The pleasure in watching this slowly evolve in front of us is unforgettable.  One of the most amazing sights I've ever seen.

Moving on to a couple of nights later, we watched the sunset from the rocky shore near our hotel.  I know, way too many sunsets, but looking the other way was just a long row of hotel buildings, so this is what you get.  Here we have an Escher-esque view of puddles among the rocks reflecting the oranging clouds.  

Action sunset! 

This is the last set of photos from our trip to the Canary Islands.  This is the third in the series.  If you'd like to see more, click here to see these photos from all around the volcano, Mount TeideClick here to see a second set about a coastal hike on the far side of the island.

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