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Full Moon Hiking on the Ice Age Trail

Picture this: An evening in July, a warm breeze blowing as you walk through a field of tall grasses, the full moon shining down. This was my first experience on the Ice Age Trail seventeen years ago and it stays with me even now. There’s just something about being out on the Trail in the dusk that is magical.

The Lodi Valley Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance has been leading monthly full moon hikes for a number of years. The hikes bring out people of all ages who want to experience the Trail in a new way. Sometimes, depending on the time of the moonrise, we don’t see the moon until we’re driving home from the hike (!) but it’s still a unique hiking experience to be out on the Trail as evening sets in. Unfortunately, the presence of COVID-19 has put a temporary hold on group hikes but we look forward to offering full moon hikes again when it’s safe to do so. In the meantime – and since we would usually be doing a full moon hike this week – I decided to share a bit of information about full moons.

In North America we often use names for the monthly full moons that are associated with a characteristic of the season. Some of the names are attributed to Native American tribes; you may find different names in various sources.The July full moon is often referred to as the Buck Moon to signify the new antlers that emerge on a deer buck’s forehead around this time. This full moon is also known as the Thunder Moon and the Hay Moon.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “once in a blue moon” but do you know where the phrase comes from?Calendar-month blue moons happen when two full moons fall within a single calendar month, with the second full moon of the month referred to as the blue moon. These blue moons aren’t that common, happening only seven times in ever 19 years. We’ll have a blue moon in October and we hope to be offering full moon hikes again by then so we can enjoy it together.

Most of us grew up hearing about the “man in the moon” to describe the features one might see when looking at the moon. In Romania, people talk about seeing a rabbit in the moon. In other countries the lunar features have been described as looking like a tree, a woman or a toad.

However you look at the full moon it’s just one more way to be delighted as you hike…..Along the Ice Age Trail.

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