There is a difference between what is true and what we would like to be true. I like to fantasize a lot, to dream up all kinds of cool conspiracies that makes the world a bit more interesting. Sure the world is already interesting, but interesting in the same way as a medical examination. Occam’s razor is a useful tool; however, there are times where it can kill what otherwise can be an entertaining exercise in speculation.
So the contrail (suspended water vapor) from a jet is the most likely answer. I have seen this many times in Colorado. A plane taking off from Loveland, which is west of my house, and heading to Las Vegas leaves a vapor trail just like a rocket. The effect is really remarkable in the evening when the sun goes behind the mountains. The ground and mountains are dark but the contrail is lit up from behind and looks nearly vertical from my perspective.
What I would like to be true is another mater. I would love to believe that it wasn’t a contrail at all, but a smoke trail from an amateur rocket taking off unannounced and with out permission. In my mind the rocket was build by a man and his son with out the help of NASA. The rocket would look like this:
Oh well. Things are as they are no mater how bad I want things to be different. Maybe it is the mystery that is fascinating the media and brings all kinds of speculation to light.
I hope that no one comes up with a definitive explanation. Sometimes things should remain a mystery.