Chasing the Blue Moon

I found your letter in my mailbox today
You were just checkin’ if I was okay
And if I miss you, well, you know what they say…
Just once… in a very blue moon
Just once in a very blue moon

-Lyrics from Nanci Griffith

Along with the recent full moon I finished my edit of last month’s blue moon. When there are two moons in the same month the second one is called the “blue moon.” This recently occurred on July 31st. I had decided to watch the moon rise from high atop the Bear Tooth Highway, which runs from the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park out towards Redlodge, Montana. I’d consider it one of the best drives in the United States.

When the moon first rose I was at the high point along the Montana – Wyoming border.

As I began my descent of the highway back towards Yellowstone the road would cross the ridge line and variously expose me towards the east or west so that I was able to see both the moon rising and the setting of the sun. I love that the full moon always rises as the sun sets.

As I descended along the winding road I would await the possible rise of the moon – again. I was able to watch the moon rise several times along the way.  As the alpenglow slowly faded into all blue, I was able to find varying foregrounds from which to view the “cold hearted orb that rules the night.”

On the drive up, while scouting potential locations for the moonrise, I’d hoped for a possible shot around this small tarn. It reminded me so much of the high alpine lakes of the Eastern Sierra, a place I consider dear to my heart. I’d never been here before so I didn’t quite know where the moon would rise. I know there are now apps for that, but I’ve always preferred my own discovery of such things. It was a great way to wrap up a most memorable evening.

The next evening I was in a coffee shop when I heard someone mention tonight’s full moon. It was one of those months when the actual apex of the full moon was sometime in the early morning hours so you in essence get a full moon for two nights. I quickly downed my tea, closed the cover of the laptop and headed from Gardiner, Montana to Swan Lake Flats in Yellowstone. I found a place where I could watch both Eastern and Western skies. I was just in time to see this special moon yet again.

On the drive home that night I listened to Nanci Griffith…

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