Saturday, August 14, 2010

Unbelievable Unimaginable Good Luck on Friday the 13th

Now there is an oxymoron for you!   I should have purchased a Lotomax ticket.  Mid afternoon on Friday the 13th, my friend and I made the final commitment to hike up Prairie Mountain to stay the night and watch the Perseids Meteor Shower.   This was something I have always dreamed of doing.  

The forecast was iffy over the past couple of days but looked to have potential for a short window of time throughout the wee hours of the 14th.  If you don't take chances in life, you miss out on a whole lot.  We took the chance!  I would have been happy if we saw just a handful of meteors.  

We hit the trail at 7:45 PM on Friday the 13th!  We knew we couldn't be slowpokes because we had to reach the top and set up camp while we still had light.  I have never backpacked before and hiking up 730 meters of elevation over 3.7 kms with a very heavy pack on my back was an eye opener.
We thought a slow steady pace should work in our favour.  As it turned out, we were quick and steady reaching the top at 9:05 PM.  That is the fastest I ever made it up Prairie Mountain.  We dropped out packs and headed for the summit cairn to take a few photos and so I could place a stone.  I dated the stone "Friday the 13th" and it shows mountains with a night sky filled with meteors and a crescent moon.

We looked for a fairly flat spot with trees for shelter to set up base camp.   We no sooner started to set up when the clouds opened and it rained heavily.  We got the tent set, then set up inside and stayed in to keep warm and dry.  I got to try out my new sleeping bag and it is absolutely a keeper.

We passed the hours talking about anything and everything!  
Where did the time go!  
Before we knew it, it was 1:00 AM.  
When we peeked outside a few stars were visible.  

We headed up the mountain a bit and watched for a few minutes.  We did see a few faint meteors but it was cloudy and it began to sprinkle again.  I would have been happy if that was all we saw.  We then retreated to base camp and carried on with the conversation.  


At 3:00 AM we looked out again and WOW the sky was totally clear.  We hiked back up to a wide open spot, settled in and waited for the show to start.  Within a matter of a few seconds a meteor shot over my shoulder and I jumped and yelled "there".  My friend jumped and yelled "where'!  I guess my "there" sounded like "bear"! 

The sky was full!  We didn't know what to look at, there was so much going on!  I laid down and stared straight up as the experts suggested to do, and I just viewed the meteor show.  I didn't last long there, I wanted to stand with my friend.  Every few seconds either one of us was pointing and saying "there".   At times we even saw the same meteors.  They were so vivid and big and close.   I felt like I could reach out and touch some of them.

The Perseids Meteor Shower was not the only thing we had a fantastic view off.  We saw about two meteors every minute  We also saw a shooting star (meteorite) fly from the west sky all the way across to the east sky and then disappear.   Visible in the southeast sky was a large bright circle which radiated a bright circle of light for quite some distance.  That was Jupiter!  In the west sky we viewed what looked like three very large stars, that was Venus, Saturn and Mars.  Also, stretching across the whole sky was the Milky Way.  This time we stayed for 45 minutes.  My friend tried to take some photos of the stars but we are not sure if they will turn out. 

At 4:00 AM we headed back to base camp, turned out the lantern and tried to catch some zzzzs.  We managed about two hours and that was it.  The sun came up and the birds started chirping.  We gathered ourselves and our stuff together then took one last trip to the cairn and a little beyond before heading back down the trail to the car.  It was quick but challenging for me.  It was steep and the heavy pack tried to push me down the mountain.  We managed the descent in 50 minutes.  

It felt good to sit in the car.  As we pulled away, all of a sudden it hit me, what we just experienced!  I had a moment behind my sunglasses that I could not disguise.  How fortunate were we!  I love when dreams come true and especially when they turn out being more then you could ever imagine.   This was an experience I would recommend to everyone to try at least once in their life time.  It is out of this world!

2 comments:

  1. That is so wonderful - what an amazing experience! Our weatherman had mentioned the Perseids this week - here they were visible around midnight apparently. Maybe next time I will give it a go!

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  2. That is so awesome that you did this.
    What a memory for you

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