Full Moon over the Ranch

Last night was the full moon, which is a really amazing thing here at the ranch during the winter.  When the ranch is covered in snow, the full moon’s reflection bounces off the white blanket and lights up the valley.  It’s amazing how bright it can be at the peak of the night!  You can even see your shadow on the snow in the middle of the night!

Ok, so I can’t take credit for this photo of the full moon, but I found it and it inspired me to write about the winter full moons.   This photo was taken in Steamboat during the January full moon.

With small children and a busy schedule, I don’t get the chance to get out and play as much as I used to in my earlier days.  But, I have fond memories of full moon snowshoes “back in the day”.  My favorite full moon memory was with my buddy Tim (do any of you remember ranch hand Tim, from way, way back in the late 90’s?).  We hiked up Hinman Mountain one of those full moon nights on snowshoes.  We didn’t take headlamps, and there was no path to the top so we just explored and found our way up there.  The hike started through a thick forest of trees, up a super steep hill.  It was pretty intense getting through that part.  Then, we broke out of the trees and into the open mountain side.  From there on, it was just serene and peaceful and we didn’t talk much.  We just watched our shadows and listened to the crunch of the snow.  Once at the top, we sat down and enjoyed looking out over the valley, down on the ranch.  It was bright enough with the light of the moon to see the whole valley.  We could see the Homestead cabin, sitting by itself out in the meadow.  The lights of the cabins seemed so far away, but the place looked cozy and inviting.   After enjoying the view for a bit, we made our way back down.  I don’t remember what we talked about, or if we even talked at that point.  It was just a special moment shared with someone who appreciated it as much as me.

Honestly, I think about that magical night every time we have a winter full moon.  One of these days I’ll strap on snowshoes and take my girls and Todd up to that spot.  The great part about these mountains is that they aren’t going anywhere.   I look forward to watching my shadow in the middle of the night the next time I’m up there.