Leaves are changing, nights are getting colder and the mountains are starting to get snow. Star gazing in the winter is a daunting thing being out in the cold, but it comes with the advantages of night beginning relatively early and the cold air holds less humidity which means a clearer view of the night sky through our atmosphere. This shot was taken a few miles in on a multi-mile cross country ski backpack trip. This spot more so than anywhere else had a big opening in the forest around me and I was shocked at how bright the moon light was on the snow around me. It was beautiful :-)

The forest was silent except for the occasional muffled "fhwump" of snow clumps falling off the tree branches. I was warm, even sweaty, from skiing with my backpack- so the break of taking the picture was not cold at all. The few times I checked my map to gauge the distance to camp- the moonlight was enough to see the details. The stars beamed and sparkled in the crisp, cold air and the moonlight was mesmerizing, even energizing. I literally felt like a moth being drawn to a porch light.The moment and place was magic. Ironically, this shot was not the goal of the adventure, but is the best image from the trip. It's proof and reminder to enjoy the moments that come up and give them their due attention.

As winter sets in I encourage you to consider going out stargazing. The early dark means you don't have to be out so late and the air is so clear that the stars literally sparkle. But, first, a warning- dress as warm as you can and bring a thermos of something hot to drink. Cold is cold, but laying on the ground staying still makes cold even colder. Bring puffy jackets, snow pants, a hat, even gloves and I promise you your star gazing experience will be all the more enjoyable.

Cheers and clear skies :-)

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