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Taken at Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park on May 3rd, 2014

The winter of 2013-2014 was the driest on record for California, and the resulting Sierra snowpack was pitiful at best. Still, the blanket of snow that covered the landscape at Cathedral Peak in May retrospectively looks better and better as the 2014-2015, which started so promisingly, now limps along with nary a storm in sight. As much as I look forward to the coming of spring and summer every year I know that California needs winter to stick around for at least a few more months.

As to the matter of taking this photo, it was a tough one to get. Mostly because I was under-prepared. I trudged the four miles in to this spot sans snowshoes, postholing nearly every step and soaking my boots in the process. I brought just enough clothing to deal with the 10 degree F temps, which didn’t mean I was comfortable, just not frozen.

In the morning, when I had finally drifted off to a shivery sleep, I almost didn’t get out of bed because I quick glance out my tent flap told me it was overcast. It wasn’t until my eyes (and brain) focused a little more that I realized I wasn’t looking at gray skies, but rather a huge Sierra wave cloud that had formed above Cathedral Peak and the rest of the Sierra crest.

I quickly donned my snow gear, grabbed my camera, and crunched my way up the frozen snow to this overlook above Upper Cathedral Lake. Then it was simply a matter of waiting for the sun to light up the wave cloud with the magenta hues of sunrise.

View more beautiful Yosemite photos.

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