Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice

Credit: off-grid info
We’ve turned the corner. The bad news is this marks the official beginning of winter. The good news is that the sun starts its trip back toward us and each day gets three minutes longer. In our language, that translates into longer paddling days, and more miles.

During the shoulder seasons, the dilema is always when to stop for the night in order to have enough light to get camp established, make dinner, and roll into the sack before we find ourselves stumbling about in total darkness save for the beam of our headlamp. The answer is in the sunset. Here’s how you do it without an app.

With your arm outstretched, fold the thumb into the palm, and hold your palm facing you and the fingers horizontal. With your little finger resting on the horizon, when the lower limb (bottom) of the sun touches your index finger, you have one hour until sunset. As the lower limb appears to peak between the fingers, you lose 15-minutes with each finger it passes. When the sun touches the horizon, and you have sunset and light will now begin to fade, but you still have another hour before complete darkness. If you plan for several possible campsites for the night, you can extend the day, feeling confident in which stop you can reach and still have enough light for camp duties.  

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