Golden valley sunrise

Christopher RobinOur Town Arts

To do my part to save the world from the coronavirus, I did a little social-distancing last Saturday at East Knox County’s House Mountain State Natural Area. Along with my 30 pounds of camera gear, I was the first car in the parking lot at 6 a.m. Hiking in the dark adds another dimension to a walk in the woods, but the payoff is worth it.

The sunrise was only spectacular because I was there to enjoy it in solitude. The colors were nothing special until the sun rose a little higher filtering through the clouds to create a golden hue throughout the layers of hills and valleys. Fully zoomed using my 600 mm maximum, I captured this distant farm.

House Mountain east overlook at sunrise, photo by Chris S. Rohwer

House Mountain’s east overlook is a two-mile hike and a little under a 1,000-foot climb. I did not see another hiker for nearly four hours. The flowers were coming out, the hillsides are turning green, and the peacefulness of the early morning quiets the soul in these concerning times.

Photographer Chris and painter Robin Rohwer share a painting or photograph weekly. They have a small studio and gallery in the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville where you can stop and see their work. Their website is All works are copyright protected.

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