Monday, January 12, 2009

Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes

Last Friday and Saturday were full moon nights. And not only was the moon full, but the sky was clear, and the moon was at perigee. Meaning the closest it gets to the earth during it's rotation. Not only was it at perigee, but it was FULL at perigee, which made it look about 13% bigger than usual and about 30% brighter. Perfect for a couple of full moon snowshoe hikes!

Both Friday night and Saturday night I stayed late to help with some very fun events. Friday night, we had about 70 people show up to snowshoe under the light of the full moon. We divide into three groups: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. I always take the intermediate group, and we hike a 2-mile loop up a mountain side to a beautiful meadow area.

I don't have any pictures of the hike, or the moon from Friday night, but then again on Saturday night I helped with a hike at another nearby state park. There they had about 35 people come out to hike under the light of the full moon.

However, before I even arrived at the park, I had a lovely and thrilling sighting of two Great Horned Owls. I was heading along the road toward the Nature Center, and spotted the silhouette of a large bird in the top of a tree.

I slowed and noticed the "ears". I immediately regretted not having my camera. My phone would again have to do.

There are two owls in this picture. One is easier to see, at the top of the tree in the bottom half of the image (this one was very cooperative, and would return my best efforts at a GHO hoot). The other is in the closer tree, at the top, almost hidden by the backdrop of a dark sky. That little bright dot up there is Venus.

This is a terrible image, but that blob at the edge of the center tree is the Owl.

Again, I don't have any pictures of the snowshoe hike itself, but seeing these owls stole the show for me anyway.


dAwN said...

Oh that sounds like a very fun thing to do on a cold wintery full moon night. I saw both owls...that must have been exciting!

Alan said...

Great photos! I did see the owls too!

deejbrown said...

I wanted to be out at midnight too for the moon but zzzzzzz.....