late night wondering

A meteor streaks above Isabelle’s falls on Cedar Creek.

Willow and I spent the night in the bush looking for stars. We were trying for the head of Cedar Creek but the road was washed out above the first bridge. We adjusted and headed for the top of Palliser.

It’s good to have a couple days off. To wonder the creeks and mountains does a person good. These are old familiar trails. They have changed over the years, more roads and more logging. The massive clearcuts are sad to see. I am lucky to have seen it before the big companies took over logging.

The conditions were prime for star gazing. The waning crescent moon was down most of the night, rising shortly after Venus around 5 am, leaving the majority of the night dark. That, coupled with being deep in the mountains far from any trace of artificial light set the stage for a spectacular night of looking deep into The Milky Way.

Traipsing around in the dark might not sound like fun. It’s true, you have to be careful. It helps knowing where you are and to keep things simple.

We were on the edge of The Height of the Rockies. My feet got wet almost right away in the creek. My boots are shot, cracked, without tread, with my toes just about through the front. This last pair didn’t last worth a damn.

The sky didn’t disappoint. The Milky Way was brilliant. Several meteors streaked, many were leftovers from the Perseid Meteor Shower, streaking away from it’s namesake constellation, Perseus.

A composite of several photos stitched together to show the sky from my vantage point. The camera picks up colour the eye is unable to see.

I took a few pictures knowing it was impossible to do justice to the glory of such a place on and above Earth. To see it is to believe it. After awhile I gave up put the camera down. Willow and I sat and watched, but not the same things. I watched the sky and she watched everything else.

Venus and the crescent moon.

Before long I was asleep under a 40 year old sleeping bag. We were up early to catch Venus and the Crescent moon. With light breaking we headed further up the river, watching the sun hit the tops of the mountains.

Crescent Moon near a wooded ridge.

All too soon we were due back in town. On the way back we stopped and I cut up some firewood and filled the back of the truck. It was a workout being tight grained fir and didn’t split easy.

Morning shadows recede.

Not much sleep the last few days. For Willow even less as she takes her watching more seriously than I. She sleeps on her blanket beside me. Now that I think of it I am a little tired myself.

Very fine day and night.

The mountains against summer’s blue.

10 thoughts on “late night wondering

  1. Jim R

    Nice post. The pictures were superb. The Milky Way is a grand wide thing. I think I spotted Andromeda in one of the photos. Saturday, Sunday, and today I got good views of the Moon passing by Venus. There is a slight chance I might see it again tomorrow. It will be an extra thin crescent.


    1. underswansea

      Thanks Jim it really was a spectacular night. Yes you can see The Andromeda Galaxy in one of the pics – good eye. In the top photo you can see the Double Star Cluster in Perseus. Good to hear you were out viewing the crescent Moon and Venus. There is not a more brilliant sight than seeing them rise together. I hope you got to see the extra thin crescent. All the best to Melanie and yourself.


      1. Jim R

        I was up early and tried to find the thin moon crescent. No luck. But two days later, Melanie was out a little after sunset and saw the thin new moon crescent.


  2. mountaincoward

    Wish I could give you 2 likes for that post – it’s superb. The quality of the photos is great – I can’t believe you got the veins on the rock and the waterfall to show up on a night sky photo – amazing!

    All my outdoor footwear is currently in a sad state of repair. I agree that the later stuff doesn’t last 2 minutes though! The soles keep falling off all my walking boots and shoes – I think it’s because they get a good wetting each time I go out walking (especially with the ‘gill explorations’ I do) but the glue really shouldn’t just give up – they’re supposed to be for the outdoors and the outdoors here is wet!

    Even though we’ve had a few clearish nights recently with the hot weather we had last week, the night sky still doesn’t seem very clear. Either my eyes are giving up or there’s still the haze at night that we had during the day. It isn’t light pollution where I live, that’s for sure.


    1. underswansea

      Thank you Carol. I was able to get the rock and waterfall by lighting them with my phone. To expose the stars properly I have to use a long shutter speed, about 30 sec, during the exposure I quickly shine my light on what I want to show up in the foreground. Pretty easy.

      As for boots, I don’t expect them to last more than a year.

      Stars and especially colours in the night sky get harder to see as you get older. Luckily the camera is able to pick up the ones I can’t see anymore.

      Take care.


      1. mountaincoward

        but boots used to last way more than a year. Some of my boots I used for all my Scotland trips (and that’s very hard walking) lasted 10 years. Now, you’re right, it’s about a year and then the soles wash off with all the wet weather.


      2. underswansea

        I agree boots used to last longer. My last two last pairs have been Salomon, they were not cheap. I think I will bite the bullet and go for Scarpa’s next time. I won’t pay more than two weeks salary.


      3. mountaincoward

        I’ve always bought the same make – the model has moved on from 2 to 5. They’ve all been brilliant until the last 2 pairs (Mk 4 & 5) – the soles have fallen off both well before the pattern has started to wear down. The earlier marks are still going – albeit a little tatty and no longer as waterproof…


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