A friend of mine tipped me off about this otherworldly place; it’s just a few miles off the main highway but if you’re headed north, there’s not a sign to let you know it’s even there.
The middle part of the country is often referred to as “flyover country” and on this morning, the jets were busy doing just that.
Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark
near Oakley, Kansas
Normal travelers seeking a route between Cheyenne and Caspar would take Interstate 25, which would take about two and a half hours.
And that is the complete explanation of our route of choice, a desolate and meandering path that added roughly an hour to the drive. But we got to see this. (And we skipped the boring interstate.)
Shirley Rim Rest Area, Wyoming
Of course, everyone knows you’re not supposed to shoot the night skies when the moon’s full. That’s the Main Rule.
Yet, there I was. Although to my (very slight) credit, I was there one day after it was full. But when trips have to be scheduled around other things, and when night-sky photography isn’t the main reason for travel, sometimes you have to take what you can get. And what I got was a nice dead tree – on the edge of a cemetery, even – and a shy moon peaking out.
The very bright moon was lighting up the hillside as the sky tried to darken.
(There were two people standing there with us as the moon slid up into view. No one spoke. When the moon had cleared the hill, they turned and walked away. It was simple and profound.)