10 March 2009

Full Moon Ski

Leaving the Montana Tech campus after teaching my evening class yesterday, the almost-full moon was rising in clear sky:

A good night for a moonlight ski--a day or two before the actual full moon, so the moon rises earlier and old folks don't have to stay up so late. Andrea Stierle had suggested a night ski earlier in the day, and I was just pulling on a pair of old wool pants when Don Stierle (Don & Andrea are in this Daily Show clip about Butte at 3:55) called to say, "Pick you up at 8." It was 5 deg F and the temperature was dropping fast in the wake of the setting sun. I finished putting on my layers, fed RTD (RolyTheDog), stood my skis & poles by the gate, and ate a butter sandwhich (good fuel for a night ski!) while waiting.

Skiing by the light of the full moon is one of life's great pleasures. The world changes at night as space pulls in around us, sounds become sharper in the still air, and our mind settles into a calm center that puts the hectic events of work & daylight into proper perspective. We skied out the Neversweat Trail, up a new route through the trees tentatively laid out by by Mike Stickney, and stood out on the edge of Moonlight Flat (on maps it's called Big Flat) looking over our little city of Butte America (aka Funkytown):

Though well below zero, the calm air did not feel cold. We skied back across the flat and dropped down to the Claim Jumper Trail, pausing when Andrea and the dogs detected the strong odor ofa Big Kitty drifting up from the trees. This is in an area where we have several times seen lion tracks over the years, so we kept the dogs close.

It was a fast run back down to the parking lot, and even old RTD broke into a quick trot now and again. Life is good, and though the longer days and blue sky sunshine will soon herald spring, we take deep joy in winter's simple lessons of friendship, nature's cyclic death and rebirth, and schussing along under the moon's soft glow.


The Moulton: Montana's finest classic cross country ski trails, just 5 miles north of Butte.


Deer Passion said...

Looks like it was a beautiful night for a moonlit ski trip! Beautiful pic too.. Glad you shared! :)

Janie said...

Beautiful moon over the mountains.

CountryDreaming said...

Sounds like an exhilarating wilderness adventure. Good to hear such things are still possible.

tsduff said...

I remember going cross country skiing with my dad on a full-moonlit New Year's Eve. I wasn't very familiar with the sport - and found myself with skis in deep frozen tracks down a hill... with no brakes! Not at all like the down-hill skiing I was used to. It was glorious - and we stopped somewhere in the wilderness at a stone cabin where a group of folks had gathered around a nice fire, passing wine and cheese. Thanks for the great memory ;)

EcoRover said...

DeerP, skiing or hiking or camping under the full moon, we follow the ebb and flow of time. Life is a rhythm. And sometimes a rhyme.

Janie, "Altarwise by owlight," as Dylan (Thomas) put it.

CountryD, it's not exactly wilderness, but you can see it from there! Literally--the Pintler Wilderness is just 25 miles west.

Nice memory, TSD--I'm at a point in life where I do almost nothing "new"--life has become a cyclic renewal of familiar things, even when I've never done them before.

Lisa Wilson said...

There are a lot of people that like to cross country ski under the full moon. The moon has been so great all week.

Cialis said...

very nice photos, I like too much the first one, looks like peaceful place, very nice moon over the mountain..

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