Saturday, February 14, 2009

Starry, Starry Night

We celebrated Valentine's Day with a candlelight snowshoe hike at America's Stonehenge in Salem, NH. Tonight was the last night they offer the candlelit trail for the season, so I wasn't sure if I would share it here. But I thought it was worth mentioning, even if you file it away for next year.
Basics: The Trail is 1.5 miles long through a lightly wooded area with some slight elevations. The folks at America's Stonehenge light the way with small kerosene lanterns, about every 100 feet or so. Cost was $10/per person if you bring your own snowshoes; $15 pp if you rent them on-site.

Highlights: It was a clear night so we saw many more stars and constellations than we've seen in a very long time. I later learned that Venus was the brightest planet tonight, with Saturn a close second. I don't know much about constellations, but enough to pick out the Dippers and Orion's belt. We also saw lots of deer tracks.

For Next Time: I would bring a flashlight and ski poles. I have night blindness and the trail wasn't nearly as well lit as I expected. It's a trade-off, I guess. If there had been brighter lighting on the trail, then the night sky might not have been so magnificent. Would definitely like to do a full-moon hike here.

Treats After the Hike: Included in the admission price are coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and store-bought cookies available in the gift shop. You can sit and watch a short film about the archeological and astronomical mysteries of America's Stonehenge. There are also many 3-D displays, petroglyphs and other interesting artifacts.

More Information: Check out their website at http://www.stonehengeusa.com/.


Jay McGillicuddy said...

Interesting, too bad the full moon had jut passed, that would have made all the better.

Lucie Bryar said...

Thanks for writing, Jay. We attempted a full moon snowshoe hike back in January, but it was a cloudy night. (So I guess it's not meant to be for winter '09!)
Forgot to mention in my post that America's Stonehenge continues to offer daytime snowshoeing.