Something Special

Time was well spent in North Cascades National Park this week.

As I’m still new to living in Washington, I haven’t spent much time in these mountains yet. What I can say is that I am falling in love with them already.

We were reluctant to have amazing weather on Tuesday. Blue skies and bright sunshine hung above our heads during our accent up Winchester Mountain. Once we reached the top we got our first taste of this years first snowfall. We also witnessed something very special, a Brocken Spectre. A Brocken spectre, also called Brocken bow or mountain spectre, is the magnified shadow of an observer cast upon clouds opposite of the Sun's direction. The figure's head is often surrounded by the halo-like rings of colored light forming a glory, which appears opposite of the Sun's direction when uniformly-sized water droplets in clouds refract and backscatter sunlight.

The phenomenon can appear on any misty mountainside or cloud bank, even when seen from an aeroplane, but the frequent fogs and low-altitude accessibility of the Brocken, a peak in the Harz Mountains in Germany, have created a local legend from which the phenomenon draws its name. The Brocken spectre was observed and described by Johann Silberschlag in 1780, and has since been recorded often in literature about the region.