Friday, September 24, 2004

Hiking by the light of the moon

My neighbor and I went on a moonlight hike in Eaton Canyon for the second time. Such a simple activity yet so wonderful. This time we weren't feeling as energetic, so we went on the moderate walk along the canyon floor from the parking lot to the bridge and back.

Because we've just passed the autumnal equinox ("equal night"), it was already dark when we set off. In early July, it was still dusk at the beginning of the hike. The moon was really bright tonight, although it's not a full moon until Monday Tuesday. On the way to the bridge, the moon was behind us. On the way back, the moon shone directly ahead of us.

Our guide was the husband of the woman who led our hike last time. (See the July 3 comments.) My neighbor is very interested in photography, and the conversation came around to the plant photography and cataloguing Gabi and Cliff McLean do. Cliff mentioned another cataloguer and photographer, Tom Chester.

Tom is an astrophysicist who has applied his incredible discipline as a scientist to, amongst other things, documenting the plants along Southern California hiking trails. Beginning at a trailhead, he and his collaborator, Jane Strong, catalogue each plant as they encounter it.

I'm taking forever to finish this post because I keep getting sidetracked reading Tom's site and marvelling at how precisely he has classified and organized all the data on it.

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