Campsite at Midnight, Prolonged Exposure

November 22, 2007

Chesler Park campsite, prolonged exposure at midnight
Jason and I spent Thanksgiving at this campsite in Chesler Park. After our holiday feast of turkey jerkey and instant mashed potatoes we took a nap and woke up around midnight to explore the area under the intense light of the moon. The Moab Desert gets extremely cold after the sun goes down. The previous night had a low around 5 degrees. This night was a little warmer, probably around 15 or 20. We had a candle hanging in the tent to provide some warmth. Surprisingly, there was a 22 degree halo around the moon. This is extremely rare in the desert since halos forecast precipitation. They're caused by light refracting through high altitude ice crystals, and are more common with sunlight than moonlight. Unfortunately, neither of us remembered that halos have been used for thousands of years to predict the weather. We climbed back in the tent with no clue that heavy snow was coming our way. Even if we had remembered that halos predict precipitation, we probably wouldn't have believed it. The Moab Desert only gets 5 to 8 inches of precipitation every year, the majority of which falls during summer monsoons.

Categories: Utah, National Parks, Canyonlands N.P.