Monday, August 25, 2008 -- Camp Soldner near Three Lakes, MI
I knew it was going to be a cold night when word spread throughout the Three Lakes area that patchy frost was possible. A quick evening pontoon boat excursion around the lake with our good neighbors Bill and Nancy, despite heavier than normal outer wear, left me chilled and shivering. Before getting horizontal for the night the windows were all closed, our little electric heater was activated, and the full complement of covers, blankets, and bedspreads were in position.
When, at about 6:30am, my eyes opened enough to see the thermometer projected on the ceiling it read 39f degrees. Our neighbor, Bill, reported 35f degrees at his place. In any case, cold for August. A thick blanket of fog covered the lake but not the shore... and when I left on my morning walk (yes, I'm still at it... four days in a row now!) I couldn't see the other side. By the time I finished the fog was mostly gone and the day looks like it'll be calm and clear, and we could even reach the forecast high of 72f degrees. It's all part of life in the U.P.
The night sky up here is nothing short of spectacular. I find great entertainment in watching the nightly sky-show whenever I can. There's a free website I use that provides the program of each night's show, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested... www.heavens-above.com ... I also have a link to it on our Links Page.
It takes a few minutes to establish your location -- the program has to know where you're at so it can provide accurate sky charts and satellite pass information. But once it knows your position on the planet, it'll provide information about the sky above, the constellations, stars, planets, and the sun and moon. It'll also give you the exact times of every visible satellite that will be passing overhead that night, including what it is, who launched it, the time it'll pass, direction of travel, where in the sky it's coming from and going to, and how high it'll be. We'll print off the list for a night, sit under the canopy of a hundred million glowing dots of light, wait, and watch the blinking procession of satellites and space debris as it goes by. It may not be as exciting as the Olympics or a close ball game, but when you think about all those millions of worlds up there and try to figure out how we fit into all of this vastness... well, it helps me minimize stress and puts my problems into a different perspective.