Thursday, August 2, 2018

Don't Die Today

I was going to call this post "Blood Moon", but according to Mr. Google, a blood moon is when a moon in total eclipse appears reddish in color as it is illuminated by sunlight refracted by the earth's atmosphere. Since I couldn't view the lunar eclipse, I wasn't actually viewing a blood moon. "Buck Moon" is another name given to the July full moon. It signifies the new antlers that emerge on deer buck's foreheads around this time of year. That might have been a better post title.

Regardless of what we call the full moon in July, I made plans to take a short hike starting from the Boy Scout Trailhead off Indian Cove Road in Joshua Tree National Park to take some moon shots. Moonrise was scheduled for 7:55 PM. I planned to begin my short hike (about 1 or 1.5 miles each way) at 7 PM to a spot that would give me a good rocky backdrop for the moonrise. It was a brutally hot day, but it should be much cooler by 7 PM, right? Wrong!! At 7 PM, it was 103 degrees!! Here's the sign that greeted me at the trailhead. When I saw this sign, I knew what the title of my blog post would be!
The "don't die today" is certainly good advice and definitely caught my eye!! Hiking the length of this trail, which from this location is 8 miles and almost all uphill, would be just plain stupid, and probably deadly. My short 2 mile round trip hike, taking it slow and easy and with plenty of water, seemed more reasonable, although I'm certain some would call THAT stupid!

After exploring the area and finding some cool rock formations (future post!) I found a great spot to set up the tripod and wait for the moonrise. It was 8PM and I should see the moon rising over the rocky peaks at any moment. I also used the timeanddate.com website to get the compass heading (113 degrees) so I could compose the shot. By 8:15 PM I was getting antsy, and by 8:30 PM I figured something went drastically wrong with my calculations!!

Finally, at 8:34 PM, the moon peaked over the ridge. Not only was the moon late, but the 113 degree compass heading was off significantly! Some of this was due to the fact I'm not viewing the moon on a flat horizon, but also worth noting that websites that predict this sort of thing are only approximate. Anyway... things were moving quickly now and it took the moon <10 minutes to rise above the distant rock formation.

8:35 PM

8:36 PM

8:37 PM

8:38 PM

8:38 PM

8:39 PM - Clear of the rocks, but still low on the horizon and yellowish in color.

9:25 PM- Higher on the horizon and the yellowish tint is gone.
PS: This was my first significant hike in desert darkness. For my hike home, the full moon was on the horizon so it wasn't providing much light. I used a headlamp which worked great and I highly recommend. I was hiking on a trail that I was very familiar with and which was super-easy to follow (even at night).

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

41 comments:

  1. I love your beautiful moon shots!

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  2. Beautiful and very adventurous of you to set up such an evening project. It’s amazing how fast the moon does rise over the horizon once it peeks through. Everything seems to be spinning faster nowadays. :)

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  3. Beautiful photos. But that's way too hot for me - we haven't hit 90 at my house this summer and that's fine by me.

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  4. Eye-catching post title for sure!!! The sign is scary and so is your report of the temperatures. But I definitely wouldn't call what you did stupid -- for YOU! only because I know you are experienced and careful. The rising moon progression is exquisite! Thank you so much for sharing.

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  5. Awesome pics. Great to read.
    Greetings.

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  6. Nice series! And good thing you had the headlamp, I'm always surprised by how much light a full moon provides, but I'm sure it would feel quite dark for hiking!

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  7. Some great "moonshots". I'm very pleased that you took the advice.

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  8. Awesome moons shots, we never got to see the blood moon there was too much cloud cover. 103f comes out at around 39c and our patio was around 38c the other day so that gives me an idea as to how hot it is where you are. To dam hot for me anyway I try and stay in the shade

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  9. Mooning! Beautifully done. 103 doesn't seem all that bad--- Hey, I lived in Phoenix for 6 months once upon a time. 100 and above is rare for our little corner of the world. More common on the dry side of the mountains.

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  10. Oy...what a sign.

    Love the moon pictures. Isn't it incredible? Vibrant.

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  11. Wow, you are brave to hike in the dark in the desert. The sign would scare most people. You have some awesome photos of the July full moon. Beautiful! Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  12. Great words of wisdom

    I don't hike at night...I get lost during the day well enough

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  13. Magnificent moon shots!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  14. Excellent photos. Also, your location was not precisely the same as the location or the prediction.

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  15. Incredible shots!! Great job.
    I was part of a group one winter who ran our local wilderness trails at night using headlights. I took a few falls and on one cracked a rib so no more running in the dark.

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  16. Incredible moon shots.
    Enjoy the day!

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  17. Very interesting post... and wise. We regularly use headlamps in Finland in autumn or winter, when days are so short and they really work well. Your moonrise is stunning!
    We could enjoy the eclipse from the north of Italy... it was incredibly red, so beautiful! Have a nice weekend.

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  18. Amazing sequence. I would wilt so quickly in tht heat - thank you for taking the hike and sharing with us.

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  19. Great shots. 103 degrees at 7 PM!!! Yikes. At that point, I think I'd decide to wait for November ;)

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  20. The "Don't Die Today" is a good reminder to hikers. I like the first image of the moon peaked over the ridge and its progression. Great pictures of the moon!

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  21. Very wise advice! It's the same advice given here in summer SPP, with added water 😊 Love your shots of the moon rising, you found yourself such a good spot. It always amazes me just how fast the moon rises and the sun sets!

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  22. Awesome that you saw it. I was getting up for work around 5.30am that morning, saw the start of it then the clouds came over.

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  23. I never knew that moonrise times on the Internet were approximate -- but I guess that makes sense. Great pics, and worth the wait! If only you could have cajoled a coyote into standing on that rocky outcrop and howling a bit. Ha!

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  24. Quite amazing considering where you were at that time.

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  25. In Portugal and Spain people are dying now of heatstroke. Never seen that sign somewhere around there.

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  26. I always love your photos but I especially love these.

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  27. You are a brave man … heat … dark in the desert … wow. But the pictures are totally worth it (of course, easy to say from my spot on the couch). Thanks for 'risking' your life to share these shots with us!!!

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  28. Wow I loved the photos, those amazing moon shots! but it must be so hot! I could not take the heat so I am happy to look at your photos! Great Blog!

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  29. great shots of the moon even if it was not red. I had too many trees that blocked the view :(

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  30. Really nice photos Pete! Hiking at night is different for sure. Did your headlamp catch any glowing eyes out there?

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  31. Great shots of the moon. You are quite dedicated.

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