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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Lilly Mountain

The weather in Rocky Mountain National Park was supposed to be calm, sunny, and in the mid 20's on Saturday, so we decided to go up into the mountains to enjoy the snow and use our snowshoes. Our Snowshoes were over a year old but had only been used once before back in March at Zimmerman Lake. Because of the Government shutdown, I did my due diligence by finding several local newspaper articles telling me that the park was open as well as calling the park to hear an automated message telling me that the park was open. So we headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park. The park was indeed open, but the roads were closed. With some recent snowfall, I guess there was no one to plow the roads, so we couldn't get to our original destination, Bear, Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lake like we had done a few summers's ago.

With our plans spoiled, we didn't just want to go home. After all, we drove over an hour to get up here, so I started looking at the map to find some hiking trails that didn't require us to drive into the park. We headed to a trailhead that starts right next to the tallest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park; Longs Peak. But instead of hiking South to get to Longs Peak, we headed North to go up Lilly Mountain.

Lilly Mountain has been on my list of hikes to do for a while, but only being 4 miles round trip, it's a little too easy for us to hike in mid-summer. However, being out of shape since we haven't hiked since September, this was a perfect January hike. There wasn't enough snow to use the snowshoes, but Katherine was able to use the new crampons that she got for Christmas. The hike started off easy, and after about a half-mile, we started descending. I thought it was a little weird but kept going on the path. About 3/4 of a mile into the hike, some fellow hikers told us that we weren't actually on the trail. So we tracked back until we found the correct trail and continued upward. We finally made it to a spot where we could see the summit, but the tracks in the snow became non-existent. So we made our own trail and climbed up the way that looked the best.

After 1 and a half hours, we summited. Several people followed us up the sketchy path that we made and completed their hike over the next 20 minutes that we were resting at the top. The hike ended up being 4.68 miles and took 2 and a half hours and almost 1600 feet of elevation gain. Had we stayed on the path, it would have been 4 miles round trip, and only 1200 feet of elevation gain. I guess that's what we get for hiking in the snow.

Wet RoadTrail No. 933On the SnowDark CloudsSnowyTrail PanoramaOff the Trail RockBig BolderIn the ValleyHotThrough The TreesSnowy TreesPerfect Lumpy SnowLilly Mountain PanoramaWestCloud Passing ByCirclingFrosty BushBlanketSummited

Monday, January 21, 2019

Super Blood Wolf Moon

First, let me break down why it's called a Super Blood Wolf Moon. It's a Super Moon because the moon is very close to Earth - more so than usual. It's a Blood Moon because during totality when the Earth's umbra is covering the moon, the moon turns a reddish color due to the sunlight that is bending through and around Earth's atmosphere. Finally, the first full moon of the year is known as the Wolf Moon. So there you have it. A Super Blood Wolf Moon.

There was quite a bit of news around this lunar eclipse, but I ended up forgetting. That is until I was reminded of it by something in my news feed just a few minutes before the eclipse was supposed to start. So I poked my head outside and saw a really bright moon. About 10 minutes later, I went back outside and still saw the same bright moon, but it didn't appear full anymore because the eclipse had started. So I grabbed my camera and started taking some photos. From the time I started shooting to the time I went to bed was about 90 minutes, however, I wasn't outside for that entire time. The weather was in the low 30's, which I couldn't really ask for any warmer for the middle of January, but that's still far too cold to be standing outside for that long. First, the Earth's penumbra passed in front of the moon, and the moon just got a little darker. Then, Earth's umbra passed in front of the moon and the moon started to turn red. Then the reverse happened while I was asleep and trying to warm back up.

A Few StarsBlood MoonHalf WayStartingBarely There

January 2019

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