Night Falls

boar's tusk, red desert

NightFall On Boar's Tusk : Prints Available

Clouds chased by winds aloft are lit by a bright half moon as night falls the week before summer solstice. The silhouetted Boar's Tusk is a geologic marvel and sacred place in the northern Red Desert. This volcanic monolith rises 400 vertical feet above the sagebrush desert adjacent to the Killpecker Sand Dunes WSA. Sweetwater County, Wyoming.


As golden light fades, time is suspended in purple and blue, stuck between light and darkness. It’s even more remarkable when the wind dies and nighthawks swoop overhead, calling mmmmeeep, mmmmeeep in a buzzing voice. Sage songbirds – Brewer’s and vesper sparrow, tinkling horned larks and blathering sage thrashers sing well into darkness and will be at it again at four in the morning. They’re no longer protecting territory from the sage tops, but sitting on nests in sagebrush, making a sweet racket under cover. Three or four coyotes howl a few hundred yards distant, maybe further, who knows how far sound carries out here? Rabbits and Wyoming ground squirrels scurry on open ground in the sagebrush forest. Suspended time. I’m walking and listening, smelling sweet, evocative sage – not the stuff we put in Thanksgiving dressing, feeling the warm breeze through my hair, and watching shades of purple turn blue, then blue-black. Summer solstice is around the corner and the rising half moon backlights clouds streaking across the sky as the Boar’s Tusk, a sentinel vertical chunk of volcanic stone turns to silhouette. In spite of the voracious no-see-ems ripping at my calves, it’s time to photograph before another late dinner and celebrate the purity of night in one of the rare places that gets truly dark and quiet – eventually quiet. There are no planes overhead, no traffic this night, just me and the Boar’s Tusk.

9 thoughts on “Night Falls

  1. Beautiful, Dave! Wow. And you had me convinced I should head out there for a night this weekend, until you mentioned the no-see-ems.

    1. You could just put on pants 🙂 And actually, Boar’s Tusk was the only place that I got bit up – because of the sand dunes I guess. You guys should just go out to Honeycomb-Oregon Buttes and soak up the desert sun…and night.

  2. Almost no planes, anyway. What a seriously magical place that is. I look forward to experiencing the silence of which you speak…one day.

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