Strawberry Moon Rising in the Land of World’s Best Potatoes

December 21, 2016

I have an obsession with all things celestial (sky, sun, moon, stars, clouds, rainbow etc.). Whenever possible, I try to plan my treks as per the moon calendar so as to spend the camping night under certain special moon phases. So, you can imagine my excitement when I witnessed moonrise (when it was not even planned) first time ever in my life. It was a glorious, glorious, glorious moment.

We were returning from the ITBP base camp in Chitkul (last inhabited village, on the banks of River Baspa, near the Indo-Tibet border in Kinnaur District) when the mountain breeze promptly got bitterly cold and crisp. We were tired and famished. After dragging ourselves up the hill, we were treading closely on the path to the village, when I happened to turn around to take one last look at the lofty mountains and the swift river. Suddenly, I noticed something peeking from behind a mountain. It took me some time to process and to believe what I was seeing. For few moments, I stood still in awe and then ran down to the riverbank to station myself at a vantage point. Luckily, my friend (who is very much aware of my obsession) instantly knew that there is no way that we are not going back to our rooms just yet. So, while I was witnessing the dreamy moonrise, he along with our driver-friend and another villager-friend speedily organised for snacks, tea and a small bonfire to keep us warm. We all sat by the riverside for a couple of hours chatting, sharing stories, sipping tea and moon-gazing. It will always remain one of my most magical and memorable nights ever.

P.S. June full moon has been famously nicknamed as Strawberry Moon by Native Americans. No, the moon is neither fruity nor pink. The Algonquin tribe knew the June full moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries, hence the name. The strawberry moons are also known to hang really low in the sky (as you can see in the above picture also).

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