The (Not So) Supermoon Eclipse

The Missouri Department of Conservation is awesome. Yes, I realize how dorky that sounds, but it's true! They host all sorts of free classes for Missouri citizens and they are always free and very well done!

I signed us up for a Supermoon Eclipse viewing at the Missouri/Mississippi Confluence at Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area in North St. Louis, for late Sunday night. I knew it would be a bit of a drive for us, but I was really excited about it. The boys are still studying space I'm trying to include anything that will make it more exciting and real for them.

Earlier in the day, Erica texted me and asked if we were still going because the clouds were so thick there was a very good chance we wouldn't get to see anything. I looked it up and saw that she was right, but I knew there was a chance so I decided to go ahead. We didn't have anything else to do anyway.

Ben was out of town, so we grabbed dinner using one of their free Chili's coupons they earned from the library during the summer reading program, then headed straight up to the confluence.

[caption id="attachment_2295" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Dinner! Dinner![/caption]

Thankfully, we had plenty of time because it was a long drive to the park entrance and then the confluence itself is 4 miles back. And you have to crawl along at 25mph to get there. I hoped it wasn't all for nothing and that I would be kicking myself for wasting all that gas and time.

But get there we did. Ben's mom and her boyfriend met us there and we chatted a bit while we waited for everyone to arrive. One conservationist said they'd had 50 people sign up! They were maxed out.

[caption id="attachment_2296" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The super exciting parking lot The super exciting parking lot[/caption]

The weather was really nice, so that was cool. Once everyone showed up, the conservationist in charge introduced herself and the other volunteers and told us about the confluence. It's the 4th largest confluence in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. People from around the world drop in to see it! There's actually a little island (that belongs to another park) where you can wade out from the tip and stick one foot in each river!! Totally taking the boys to do that some day!

Since the clouds were still dark and heavy, we were given the option of a nighttime hike. We jumped at the chance and started off. The conservationists stopped every now and then to point out animal or insect sounds. They taught the kids about "deer ears". Basically cupping your hands around your ears to funnel in more sound waves. One conservationist also demonstrated the various owl cries. Turns out the owls we hear all the time in our woods are barred owls. Very cool!

The hike ended being much muddier and longer than I thought it would be, but it was so beautiful out and it was kind of exciting to be in a park after dark! Legally! We don't often get the chance to do that.

We arrived back at the confluence, but the clouds were still obscuring the moon. A telescope had been set up and while we couldn't see the stars, the kids were able to look at some buildings and things across the river. Eh, take what you get.

Erica and her family showed up and the boys were thrilled. I snapped a few pictures of them as best I could in the dark and they talked and played. That was the highlight of their evening.

[caption id="attachment_2297" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The Silly Six The Silly Six[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2298" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Pleas enjoy this grainy picture of the confluence. It's the only one I have. Please enjoy this grainy picture of the confluence. It's the only one I have.[/caption]

We left shortly after 9pm, I think. It was originally set to end around 10pm, but since the clouds weren't cooperating, people started packing up. Such a bummer. We never did get to see the moon!

The drive home was long and we were exhausted, but both boys said they'd had a surprisingly good time and that the hike had been really cool. So it wasn't a total loss.

Next time, moon. Next time.


Popular Posts