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Snowshoeing a trip in the moonlight

It hasn’t happened in 133 years.

The last time it happened was Dec. 21, 1866, and the Lakota Sioux took advantage of the situation and staged a devastating retaliatory ambush on soldiers in the Wyoming Territory.

This year, Dec. 22, commonly called the first day of winter, the full moon and winter solstice occur in conjunction with the lunar perigee – that’s the point in the moon’s orbit that is closest to the Earth.



What that means is that the moon will appear about 14 percent larger than it does on the apogee – the distance farthest away from the Earth.

In addition, to the moon’s elliptical orbit, the Earth’s orbit brings the two spheres closer to the sun by several million miles, and the sunlight striking the moon will be about 7 percent stronger than during the summer.



If the weather is clear and there is snow cover, it is believable that even car headlights would be superfluous – but we don’t advocate driving in such a fashion.

However, if you do want to be out in the moonlight, there are several options that can make a journey in the moonlight a little brighter.

At Kirkwood, there will be snowshoeing tours offered at night during the full moon. Call 209-258-7248.

At Diamond Peak, a full moon tour will take skiers to the Knock Your Socks Off Rock which overlooks Lake Tahoe (weather permitting). The tour began Monday. It offers the highest altitude cross country skiing and snowshoe trails in the region. Dogs are welcome and rentals are $5. Call 775-832-1177 or contact the Diamond Peak Cross Country Center, 742-7957.

At Camp Richardson, on Dec. 20, a Full Moon Ski Party will be held at the Beacon Bar & Grill in conjunction with Sierra-at-Tahoe. The tour goes through the Tallac Estates and returns to a bonfire on the beach. Call 530-542-6584.

At Spooner Summit, they are just praying for more snow. Rentals available but no night skiing or shoeing has been planned. Call 775-887-8844.

At Hope Valley Outdoor/Cross Country Ski Center, 20 miles south of South Lake Tahoe, the tour takes skiers and shoers through the back country of Hope Valley. Cost: $25 includes equipment rental. $15 without equipment. Call 530-694-2266.


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