Cloud Layer

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This winter has brought a lot of temperature inversions to the deep valleys of the Great Basin. One storm cycle in particular created an interesting effect in which most valleys in Nevada were buried in persistent low-lying cloud. This pattern came to its southwestern end just over the ridge from us, where mile-high Fishlake Valley’s cloud cover ended at the eastern edge of much lower Eureka Valley. The border is clearly visible to those familiar with the area in the satellite image below.

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We had been sledding up in the mountains that afternoon and I had noticed the cloud edge from a hilltop. So I hiked up to the most accessible overlook into Eureka Valley for sunset. I was hoping to see the clouds cascading over the low divide into Eureka, but instead they sat like a stationary wall at the valley rim. As the sun sank, some interesting subtle iridescent effects showed up in the cloud, though alas they did not appear in a very photogenic spot.

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I was kicking myself somewhat for not hiking up to a higher overlook on Chocolate Mountain, but cloud layer under twilight glow with snowy peaks in the Palmetto and Sylvania Ranges beyond still made for a lovely evening.

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