July 16th, 2008


Because I promised

Tonight (well, last night by the clock) was supposed to be another ten-mile hike -- a night hike, with star study and all that. With siege in the hospital, I asked for help, and our Scoutmaster, Dean, agreed to be the second adult for the hike.

But then, we had a number of defections. Scouts were out of town, one had his wisdom teeth yanked a couple of days ago, and two were doing marching band every day and didn't think they could hike ten miles at night, too (what wimps). Finally, one of the two Scouts who said they would make the hike ditched us to play with a friend. Which left us with two adults and just one Scout.

Said Scout, T.J., has made every hike so far -- the only one to do so. This was his last hike. Once his hike report hits my inbox, he will have finished Hiking Merit Badge -- and good for him! There was no question of calling anything off. Dean and I shouldered our packs and followed T.J. down the road.

Our hike took us out country roads from our town to a County park about five miles away. We passed corn fields (and, yes, the corn was as high as an elephant's eye around here -- and beginning to tassel). We talked and walked and soon found ourselves at Flatwoods Park. There, we rested for a while to await the sunset.

There was a bit of haze in the sky, which made star gazing difficult. Only the brighter stars came out to play, and even they didn't mostly make an appearance until after we had to leave the park. The Moon and Jupiter were both in Sagittarius, and way too bright to make out anything else in that constellation. Anyway, we walked on into the gathering dark and talked and gawked at the stars and stumped on back to town. Along the way, I managed to point out the Big Dipper and Little Dipper (with Polaris), Boötes (with Arcturus), Corona Borealis, Virgo (with Spica), Scorpius (with Antares), Libra, Lyra (with Vega), Cygnus (with Deneb), Aquila (with Altair), and the hindquarters of Leo.

Our total time for the whole ten miles, including a nice long break at the park, was 4 hours 45 minutes (6:45 to 11:30 p.m.). Ten miles of asphalt were making my feet hurt by the time we were done, but I'm feeling pretty good right now. And I'm very happy for T.J.!

Pictures below the cut. Collapse )