While enjoying a breaking winter storm from the South Rim’s Mohave Point, I witnessed a rare meteorological event called a “Brocken spectre.” More commonly seen by pilots and mountaineers, a Brocken spectre occurs when a viewer’s shadow is cast upon clouds or mist located directly opposite from the sun.
I was lured to the scene when I noticed several Chinese visitors gleefully waving into the canyon. During my research after the fact, I uncovered that, in their homeland, this phenomenon is traditionally referred to as “Buddha’s Light.” Sightings in their cloud-shrouded high mountains such as sacred Mount Emei have been recorded as far back as A.D. 63.
Whatever the label, it was certainly a sight to behold, and proof positive that the canyon is full of surprises, even for a longtime resident who thought he had seen it all.
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