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Sunrise over Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood

The downside of crystal-clear blue skies is they produce some rather unspectacular sunrises and sunsets, mostly involving changing shades of blue. However, when we woke up on our last day of camping in Cottonwood, there were just enough clouds on the horizon to give the sunrise a little bit of color.

The car in the photo is not ours. Just before sunset the previous evening, a camper arrived to take the neighboring site in a campground loop that had been otherwise nearly empty since noon. She was a young woman traveling alone and quiet as a mouse, so it was tough to complain.

Speaking of quiet, at some point in the middle of the night, I woke up convinced I was hearing something walking around the outside of the tent, perhaps a bird or a small rodent or something small like that. After several minutes of carefully listening, I finally realized I was hearing the stubble from my own face rubbing on the exterior shell of the sleeping bag. The campground may be only a couple miles from town, but, yeah, it’s really quiet out there.

The propane campfire in the lower-right corner is a new addition to our car camping gear. It may lack the romance of a wood fire, but having a sunrise fire with just a spark and a turn of a knob is awfully convenient, especially with overnight lows in the 40s.