Moonrise, Sunset, Meteors, Sunrise, Moonset on the Sugarloafs 8/12-13/11
Middle Sugarloaf 2539'
2.6 Miles 800' Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma
It's not often that celestial events align with weekend nights and perfect weather, but they did this past Friday night, and we took full advantage. Unlike our usual fly by the seat of our pants plans, we were packed and ready to go the night before. When Judy got home from work Friday we piled in the car and started off towards Twin Mountain. Even with 40+ lbs. on my back, the hike to Middle Sugarloaf is an easy one, and we were up and set up well before moonrise/sunset.
We had supper while the shadows grew long. The Presidential Range to our east was socked in, but there was hope it would light up nice when the sunset threw it's color that way. The clouds meant we would not see the full moon climb above the range, but it mattered little. We were in the mountains, prepared to spend the night, and the sky promised to put on a show. The full moon meant it might be hard to spot shooting stars from the Perseid Meteor Showers, but that was alright. A night spent on a mountaintop under a full moon is reward enough in itself.
Sunset Over Twin Mountain
Home for the Night
After cleaning up from supper and hanging our food well away from camp, we sat about as the sky in the west took on its warm glow, then watched in anticipation for the moon to appear from behind the cap clouds in the east. It was not long before the full ghost revealed himself and smiled down on our chosen roost. The western sky was filling with warm colors as the sun dipped towards the pointed spine of Vermont's Green Mountains. It became difficult to fix our attention to any one direction for long as dusk and then twilight descended upon us.
It is wonderful to be in a location where you can see almost the entire sky, and we were reminded how much we love these trips. Things all seemed to come together for this one. Beautiful sunset, beautiful moonrise. The clouds above had cleared assuring good viewing for meteor showers even if the full moon might wash them out a bit. I wrapped myself in my sleeping bag and laid on a rock with my eyes directed at the northern sky for the next several hours. I saw probably 25-30 very good falling stars before giving in to sleep and crawling into the tent. I managed to capture a few with the camera, but the full moon's brilliant light made them appear muted at best.
Shrouded Presidential Range
Next morning nature called in time for the first light in the east. I crawled out of the sleeping bag and set up for sunrise shots as the moon turned a deep orange and began to lay down his head in the west. As the moon disappeared behind the horizon, a pack of coyotes bid it farewell with yips and howls from somewhere below us. Emma took up her guard duty from atop a nearby rock. I boiled water and we had tea and pop tarts for breakfast as Sol climbed above the still shrouded Presidential Range.
We stayed until the sun had warmed us from the cool, overnight sleeping temperatures. Reluctantly, we packed up and began the short slog down to our waiting car. The plan was to meet friends and do a short red line along the Trestle Trail. We had been along this before, but one friend was nearing his red line finish, and another friend had a new puppy out for her first hike, so how can you resist that? Three seasoned trail dogs showed the new puppy the ropes on how to trot, jump, get under foot, and the best way to beg treats when on the trail. First hike was a success, and red liner was all the more close to the finish. Great ending to our mountain visit!
Full set of pics HERE: