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The Brocken Spectre atop Longs Peak

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The Diamond on Longs Peak, 14,255 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park. For readers interested in the Brocken Specter phenomenon, they can consult John Muir’s Mountains of California, in the chapter entitled “The South Dome.”Photo by Richard F. Fleck

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We all look up at an eclipsing

moon high in the sky as we

approach the dark North Face

in very crisp air of three a.m.

Way toward Wyoming, streaks

of Northern Lights shimmer

while we inch our way to

the summit over icy granite.

At five a.m. we plant our feet

atop block-shaped Longs Peak

to wait in early light for a

bright and rising sun somewhere

over Kansas with lots of prairie

in-between, and then it happens.

As the sun bobs up, the shadow

of our high cold mountain moves

slowly westward stretching out to

Utah and revealing our planet’s

unending whirl through space.