The night is still, no breeze or fish disturb the water. The only sounds are the chirping of crickets and the occasional “krrump” of a frog from its hideout in the reeds. You break the silence and stillness as you softly slide your canoe into the lake. Ripples emanate from the bow, and the sound of the soft churning of the water joins the music of the insects and the frogs.
There’s no moon tonight, and in the clear blackness of the Southeast Utah reservoir, all the stars, galaxies, constellations and nebulae cast their reflection. But for the black silhouettes of the distant cliffs, you would not be able to tell the lake from the sky. You drift suspended in space, and as a shooting star passes overhead, its mirror image glides below.
Here in Southeast Utah, you are treated to some of the darkest skies, and therefore the best display of stars, in the entire country. As more people realize how dark skies benefit wildlife, our health, and the memories that can be made under the brilliance of stars, more people are striving to protect the dark. Across the world people are protecting night skies in designated Dark Sky Reserves. You can visit these reserves in places like France, New Zealand, Ireland, and even Namibia.
Fortunately, Southeast Utah is part of this growing movement. When you’re here you’re one of a mere twenty percent of Americans who can still see the stars at night.
You pull your canoe on shore, and crawl into your tent. A chorus of coyotes begin their nightly serenade, and you drift off to sleep. Our bodies are made for this cycle of light and dark, and in the blackness of night your brain releases the melatonin you need for healthy slumber.
In the morning you’ll wake up when the sun warms your cozy tent, and the birds begin to sing. It’s memories like these that will last a lifetime.
Jun 9 - First Quarter at 11:59 pm
Jun 17 - Full Moon at 2:30 am