New Year’s Eve Desert Moonrise

While many view it as a barren landscape,  the desert offers beauty of its own.  We enjoyed a dramatic desert moonrise on New Year’s Eve.

Moonrise in the desert

Along with a few other volunteers and staff from Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, we hiked up the Painted Desert Trail to the top of the wash and watched as the sun set over the Chocolate Mountains, creating an orange glow in the darkening sky.  Then, heading east, we hiked the trail to the top of another wash to await the moonrise.

It wasn’t long before the sky brightened over distant mountain peaks, slowly followed by a tiny beacon of light.  Within 15 minutes, the full moon had exposed itself and hung in the velvet sky like a luminous globe.   The desert that night was only barren in the number of spectators; we shared this remote region with no one else for miles.  Hushed, we reveled in the evolving scene before us.  The Blue Moon — second full moon of the month — glared defiantly as it rose higher.  A slight breeze chilled the night air, but no one noticed.

The desert really is beautiful.

Sunset over Chocolate Mountains.

Desert full moon

Even more moon

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