Stargazing over the weekend was illuminated with this month’s Hunter’s Moon on Sunday (Oct. 9). This full moon was difficult to miss, as the orange ball rose above the eastern horizon just after sunset.
The orangeness takes its glow from the red and orange wavelengths that are reflected as the light from the moon’s reflection travels through more layers of atmosphere, and therefore particles, at the horizon. As it travels overhead, the amount of atmosphere we are viewing it through diminishes and the particles that emit those orange tones drop out and to yellow and white.
Moonglow creates a special celestial energy that seems to always carry some lore. If you talk to any veterinarian or emergency room employee, they will attest to the strange things that go on in the animal and human kingdom during a full moon.
The Hunter Moon is aptly named as it’s a prelude to open season, which everyone should know starts Oct. 15, this coming Saturday. The valley’s vast public lands will welcome hundreds of sportsmen and women in pursuit of a national pastime that’s as hometown as apple pie.
The influx of hunting helps pad the tourist season for local hospitality industry and it helps protect vast open spaces that surround our valley that most of us benefit from daily. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, hunting and fishing licenses account for over $57 million in revenues to the state. That’s dollars that help steward and protect many of the open spaces that we in the valley cherish for mountain biking, hiking and open space, and this next week is the time when they are most heavily used for hunting.
For newcomers to the valley who have been enjoying all the recreational playland the valley has to offer without much thought to firearms, it’s a good time to hang up the trail shoes for the week and go for a road run instead. Hop on a road bike, maybe play tennis, or do much needed yard work. There are a few trails that pass on private land at Sun Mountain and the Community Trail, where hunting is prohibited, but all public lands, state and federal, unless posted, will likely see some hunters. If you decide to head out on a trail, invest in some hunter orange and wear it. This is true for your canine companions as well.
Speaking of canine companions, our family is enjoying a new puppy. Puppies, aside from human babies, are simply the best way to teach empathy. This puppy is getting spoiled beyond compare — allowing him on beds and couches (our last dog was forbidden this luxury), and we even bought him a Halloween costume.
This is something I would have scoffed at a few years ago, insisting it to be frivolous, not practical, a waste of money, too silly. But I’ve softened and something inside me said, “why not, this might be the only time in my kids’ childhood they will get to dress up a puppy, what’s the harm in a little fun.” And it’s simply adorable.