I finally was able to get out to Sherrard Point for a sunrise! Sunrise was at 5:20am, and it would take me about an hour and 20 minutes to drive out there which means that I would have needed to leave around 3am if I wanted to arrive an hour before to capture some of twilight. The forecast called for partly cloudy skies in the morning before clearing up for a sunny day. This is one of those high-risk high-reward kind of scenarios since it really depends on how high and dense the clouds are as well as the visibility. Regardless, I was determined to head out there and make something happen. I woke up around 2:45am and was out the door on time. The drive out to Sherrard Point was kind of frightening--not in the sense that it was a very dangerous drive or anything, but rather that it was horror/thriller movie-esque. The road was dark and windy and was lined with tall forest trees on both sides. If someone were to dump a dead body from a moving car, this would be the road to do so. It also wouldn't have surprised me to see zombies crawl out of the trees too. Despite the paranoia, I pressed onward.
It's about a quarter-mile "hike" from the parking lot up to the actual viewpoint, which was a little daunting in the dark for the same reasons above, but the scene above was what greeted me as I ascended the final set of stairs. The first words out of my mouth were, "wow." I quickly caught my breath, set up my tripod and camera and snapped a few quick photos. I caught myself multiple times throughout the morning not taking photos. I spent the majority of my time up there just enjoying the view and soaking it in. The conditions were as great as they could be. The clouds weren't too dense and they were high up. Visibility was great and because of that, I could see all five of the major peaks: Hood, Adams, St. Helens, Rainier, and Jefferson. The last time I was up there was to shoot the Milky Way and the Perseids Meteor shower. Although the sky was clear, the horizon visibility was low due to a string of forest fires earlier in the day; I could barely see Mt. Hood that night. This morning was completely different. I could see everything and the layers, trees, mist, and clouds would have made Bob Ross blush.
I was the only one up on the viewpoint for about 20 minutes before another couple arrived. It was just us three who were able to catch the most vibrant moment of dawn right before the sun rose. Eventually a group of high schoolers and a couple other photographers showed up, but by that time they had already missed the magic moment where the sky looked like it was on fire. I will definitely return to this spot because it is absolutely spectacular. Hope you enjoy these photos.