Full Moon Rising

Moonlit Diablo Lake & Mountains
At the beginning of the M.Ed. residency, every graduate student writes down several goals. These personal goals are for both our teaching practicum as well as for what we hope to accomplish during our residency experience. One of my residency goals was to go on a full moon canoe every month. So far, I have only been on a few due to weather and being offsite. But every time I have been able to, it fully reinforces what motivated me to write down that goal.
There is something magical about gliding across the still, silent, black surface of a lake, moving solely by your own exertion. I always feel connected with the water when I go canoeing. But something about being on the water at night heightens this sense of oneness. It almost seems as if your paddle is an extension of the water, linked by an arc of tiny droplets.
Moonlit Diablo Lake & Mountains

Pyramid and Colonial Peaks at dusk

During the last full moon, known as the supermoon” I set out on Diablo Lake from the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center with two companions at dusk, and we headed east towards Ruby Mountain. We paddled up the gorge below Ross Dam, pausing to listen to the roar of waterfalls full with early spring snowmelt. The sky was quickly becoming filled with stars, and we named off Orion, Cassiopeia, the Dippers, the Pleiades. The night was completely calm, and we were in awe of the spectacular beauty of this place we are so lucky to call home, if only for a while. Surrounded by snowcapped peaks and glassy water, I felt as if we were floating in a dream, suspended in time.
The moon eventually peeked over the shoulder of Ruby, blinding us with its brilliance. The moment when the moon crested the ridge, it illuminated a single pine tree, picture perfect. If only it were easier to take photographs from a canoe.

moon rise from canoe

A graduate student takes in the moonrise over Ruby Mountain

We tried paddling backwards for a while, so we could continue to soak in the breathtaking scene before us; eventually we gave up and decided to slowly float homeward. My roommate commented that the only thing missing from the night were some wolf howls. We decided to do our best, in good Mountain School fashion. To our surprise, as we listened to our echoes die away, we were countered with a chorus of yips and howls. Knowing that there are currently no wolves in this part of North Cascades National Park, we realized that coyotes was responding to our howls. I don’t know what they thought of our exuberant yodeling, but we were thrilled by their unexpected chorus.
Moonlit Diablo Lake & Mountains

Davis Peak behind Diablo Dam

As we finally pulled the canoe out of the water, I reflected on how therapeutic time in nature is. Although I was devoting most of the weekend to work on projects and homework, taking this time to soak in a beautiful night on Diablo Lake had put me in a blissful state of mind. I wasn’t quite ready to say goodnight though, and couldn’t resist taking a few more photographs until my fingers went numb and I ceded the night to the coyotes and celestial orbs.
Moonlit Diablo Lake & Mountains

Moonlit Colonial Peak from the Learning Center dock
All photos courtesy of the author.


  1. vida morkunas

    beautiful. I cannot imagine a more peaceful way to welcome the super moon.

  2. Stephanie

    This is beautifully written Ms. Rinder. It makes me want to look down in the well of my own courage and set out one moonlit night with you. Perhaps I just might 🙂

  3. John H

    Put me down for the next one, sounds AWESOME!

  4. Tanya Anderson

    Beautiful post, Kate. I need to put moonlight canoes in my list of goals.

  5. Saul Weisberg

    Living the dream! Thanks for a great chattermarks post, and for taking time away from projects (not MY project I hope) to find balance in the midst of the mountains.

  6. Deb McNamara

    Kate – you are such a beautiful writer! These posts make me want to abandon ship and take my family to the wilderness! ahhh… a lake a dusk sounds simply divine…

Leave a Comment