That super blue moon the other night (January 31, 2018) reminded me of a summer Blue Moon (‘roun’bout July 2004, podner) when I hiked to the top of Mt. Hoffman, in the middle of Yosemite National Park, in the middle of the night, by moonlight. With Aaron and Jason. Around 9pm we started up, at first with flashlights because we were in the middle of boulder fields and trees, but within a mile we were out in the open with nothing but exposed granite and sandy trails around us, completely illuminated by moonlight. From there we ascended to the top of the peak entirely by moonlight.
The trails were full of roots, to trip us. And rocks, to trip us. And it was just blazingly hard to see. And dammit, our own feet tripped us. We tripped, but we wanted to do it.
Here’s my narrative, with photos, covering the entire May Lake Blue Moon trip. I started blogging in 2003, before the trip, but hadn’t mastered it quite yet, so there’s no contemporaneous blog entry from that period.
At the top, with sheer drops off the peak behind us, we sat on the top to capture a time exposure with my new digital (Nikon D100) camera. (No iPhone in those days.) You’ll see we are seated rather than standing. This is because we needed to hold still for the two-second exposure. Took a bunch of exposures. Well, actually we were so unstable at this height above the ground (precipice behind us) that we sat down and clenched the rock beneath our seats.
Well, I can’t speak for Aaron and Jason, but I was clenching for sure.
So around 11:00pm here we are — at the summit.
A couple of staff from the May Lake High Sierra Camp (my interview) (read about MLHSCC online) also did the ascent that night, and they caught up with us halfway up. They told us the next morning that they slept in bags near the peak overnight and had “never been so cold.” I slept at the bottom in my warm tent, but honestly after all this excitement it took me until almost dawn to get to sleep.
When I looked at the photos, at first I thought maybe I had captured nothing. But upon photoshopping the original digital photo, I discovered I could lighten it to the point where we were quite visible. Along with the streak of something behind us (probably an airplane, though it should have been red or green, not white). And here and there were glimmers caused by cosmic rays shooting through the camera’s sensor and dislodging an electron or two.
Like I said, check my interview of Brian Shoor, manager of May Lake High Sierra Camp, in 2015 on Youtube.