Some Fun in the Winter Sun ….. and Moonlight, too

I’ll admit it – I’m challenged by winter in Montana.   It’s not so much the cold, as the fact that it’s dark for most of the day (or so it seems) and I just want to sit inside, next to the wood stove, and read a book.  Or sleep the winter away …… which just isn’t a practical solution.  So, I was determined to embrace it a little better this year (my special lights and Vitamin D3 helped make the embrace a little more loving) and get out into our glorious Montana outdoor winters.

The extremely mild winter this year here has definitely made it easier to get out – though the occasional hurricane-force winds have made standing up once I am outside a challenge (and the winds put a real damper on the enjoyment factor, too).  Even so, we’ve managed to get into Red Lodge (which has snow, unlike Joliet, where we live) a few times, and enjoy some lovely cross-country skiing.

This winter we bought passes to the Red Lodge Nordic Center because it has groomed trails in vast, open areas as well as through the woods.  It’s a beautiful area, with the Beartooth foothills looming in the background (and depending on the light, if I scrunch my eyes and face, I can almost pretend that I’m looking at waves, lapping off to the far shore).

The trails wind through open meadows,

or through the aspen woods.

On one trail, I even found a remnant of Christmas:

I liked how the ornament held a little reflection of me in the foreground and of the sky and mountains in the far distance.

One of the events that the Red Lodge Nordic Center holds monthly throughout the winter is full-moon skiing.  We tried to go every month last winter, but the full-moon night always turned out to be cloudy, too cold, too windy ….. too something, so we never made it.  Not so this year – we went to full-moon skiing earlier this month, and, despite very icy trails, had an incredible time skiing on moon-lit trails, each one marked with little glo-lights hanging from tree limbs.   The main entry trail was lit – and so welcoming – with a long row of luminarias.

With the full moon reflecting off the snow, it was amazing how bright the night was – so bright that the trees cast shadows.

If you got too cold, a blazing fire kept skiers warm.

Something about the night seemed to bring out a ghost or two, too, in this picture of Bridget and Mike:

And now, we’re hoping for a little more snow and a beautiful full moon in a cloudless sky for February.  And I’m going to plan on bringing a small tripod (shivering while holding down the camera button on a long exposure) and learning how to take some better moon-lit photos.

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About Karen

While loving the wizardry of words, I also love to travel because of that present-moment sense that each day is a gift to unwrap that the experience of travel conveys so well. Other passions include hiking, gardening, photographing, movies and documentaries, reading, writing (I've finished my first novel .... and seeking an agent) and entering recipe contests. Michael and I are both fascinated with factory tours, literary landmarks, and seeking restaurants mentioned in novels - just to see if they exist. Our favorite restaurant we've found this way is the Nuevo Latino-style Yuca (www.yuca.com) in Miami.
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3 Responses to Some Fun in the Winter Sun ….. and Moonlight, too

  1. Kath says:

    Wonderful to hear of your moonlight skiing adventures. What a grand experience. How cold was it???
    Do you see the northern lights there??
    Loved your post.

  2. Gaby says:

    Beautiful Montana. Never been there, but the photos you posted re: Winter & night xcountry skiing are gorgeous. I do xcountry too, but I’ve not been yet to a night-time run.

    Great photos. Thanks! Gaby from PDX

  3. Karen says:

    Kath, it was about15-20 degrees that night. Without humidity – and if there’s no wind – it’s amazing how warm that can feel. Add sunshine to a windless temp like that and lots of Montanans (not me, though) are out in shorts. Gaby, come on out to Montana. The next full moon is just around the corner.

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