The valley was lit up Thursday (Aug. 11) with the brilliance of the last supermoon for 2022. Four full moons qualified for the “supermoon” designation this year —– in May, June, July and August — by the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” broad definition that they reached 90% of perigee (the point in moon’s orbit where it is closest to Earth).
All supermoons have names that came from a variety of sources including Native American, Colonial American, and European. Last week’s supermoon is most commonly called the Sturgeon Moon named by the Algonquin people because the giant fish in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this part of the summer.
Sturgeon are considered the largest freshwater fish in North America. They can grow up to 1,500 pounds and live to be 100 years old. These giant fish can be found in three rivers in Idaho –— the Snake, Lower Salmon and Kootenai Rivers — where Idaho Fish and Game strictly protects them. They are considered a world-class game fish; however, if caught, the fish must be released unharmed. It is illegal to even remove them from the water (for photo op!).
Back to the supermoon: The Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest traditionally call this moon the Mountain Shadows Moon. Appropriately, for the upper Methow valley, the moon sent its glow and its shadows over Grizzly Peak into the meadows below in a spectacular fashion.
If you travel the Methow Community Trail on foot, horseback, or bicycle from Mazama Trailhead to Wesola Polana, you will see the work of the Suspension Reach Fish Restoration Project. Eleven logjam structures near the Tawlks-Foster Bridge are visible. The project managed by the Yakama Nation in partnership with several private and governmental parties is restoring habitat for fish in the Methow River. The work thus far is quite impressive, as gigantic logs with root balls have been carefully placed by helicopter and secured along the banks.
Once again trail etiquette reminders are in order. Our multi-use trail system is world class. Whether you are walking, biking or riding on a horse, there are guidelines and common courtesies. All users yield to horses. Horses are 1,000 pound (plus) creatures that can hurt their riders and the other trail users if they are spooked by an unexpected quick movement; i.e., a bike racing up from behind or careening around a corner. Please be courteous, slow down, stop and ask riders how they would like you to proceed.
Bicyclists also are required to yield to folks on foot. There is never a reason to shout obscenities or other rude comments to others on or near the trails. Respectfulness and kindness be the guide.
You may have noticed the giant yellow duck with sunglasses around town. With the demise of the Bite of the Methow, Winthrop Kiwanis are ramping up the annual Duck Race by adding Duck Days activities at Mack Lloyd Park on Saturday, Sept.4, in addition to the race of the ducks in the Chewuch River on Sept. 5. This fundraiser is currently the primary source of revenue for the many projects for kids that the club supports around the valley. Be sure and buy your tickets wherever the big duck is moored, at several businesses around town, or from any Kiwanian. The first five ducks to cross the finish line will win cash prizes, including a first place prize of $500.