T Minus Eight, Seven, Six

It's been a busy three days. This past Friday, I launched a kickstarter project to offset some of the costs associated with self publishing. Much to my amazement, we reached nearly 50% of our goal over just the weekend! I'm humbled and awed, and I want to thank you all from the bottom of my reasonably healthy heart. Thank you!

On Saturday, after a quick practice hike on a local trail, Katie and I made a trip to REI and I also bought a spare set of glasses. In addition to mottoes such as "Hike Your Own Hike" and "No Rain, No Maine" thru-hikers also frequently advise, "Every Item You Bring Will Be Destroyed." This includes your pack, your shoes, your knees, e-readers and in many cases your will to continue walking all day and sleeping in tents and shelters. 

Waiting for dark

Once we returned home my best friend, Travis joined us for dinner and then an evening of one of my favorite activities, stargazing. For Christmas of 2000, Katie surprised me with a small telescope, because it was one of those things I'd always said I'd kinda like to have someday. The first time I put my eyeball on the eyepiece and saw amplified starlight, it was an instant and overwhelming obsession. For the past decade, one room in the house has been a constantly refreshing showroom of tents, sleeping bags, and telescopes of ever increasing size. My largest scope, a beast known as the Lightbridge, is so inconveniently massive that visitors have asked, "Why do you have a hot water heater in your living room?"

Travis and I both share this obsessive love of the night sky, and he's the only person besides occasionally my wife who is willing to stand out in the driveway with me until well past midnight pointing large hunks of glass at the sky and then cheering at planets and galaxies. This is precisely how we spent last night despite each of us having busy schedules this morning. 

The moon was a thin crescent with Jupiter nearby. Mars rose in the east just past dark, and Saturn, the crowned jewel of our solar system was not far behind. We saw more galaxies and clusters than I could count, and spent just as much time simply looking up. The temperature was very agreeable and there wan't a drop of dew anywhere, which makes for excellent viewing conditions. Had I not been physically exhausted at 2:30, I would have gladly stayed up all night. It will be a while before I get to do this again.

Travis and Gary build a telescope