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  • Caitlin Mary Parker Allen

Summer Astronomy Series: How To See the Buck Supermoon July 13, 2022

Everything You Need To Know To Become Recharged and Reenergized by the Biggest and Brightest Full Moon of 2022

A large yellow full moon floats in the night sky, surrounded by stars visible through a gap in large looming evergreen trees

Supermoon - Photo Credit: Tony Litvyak


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July can be a busy time of the year. Organizing Independence Day festivities, the hustle and bustle of school holidays, and the malaise of summer heat can leave you feeling a little drained. Here is how to take advantage of the Buck Supermoon this Wednesday, July 13th, to reinvigorate your mind, body, and spirit.

The Buck full moon is named for the emergence of antlers on the heads of buck deer during the month of July. This year, it will be a supermoon, meaning the moon is at its closest point in orbit to the Earth at the same time as the full moon phase. When these two cycles coincide, the result is an unusually large and bright moon which bathes the nighttime landscape in a beautiful, ghostly light.

A buck deer with large antlers peeks out from the lush green underbrush

Buck Deer - Photo Credit: Chris Greenhow

The moon cycle, while beautiful, has earthly implications beyond just aesthetics. Any fisherman knows that the gravitational pull of the moon affects the tides as it orbits the Earth. During a Supermoon, the moon is uncharacteristically close, and thus the tides will be higher than usual. The Buck Supermoon will be the closest of 2022, just 222,000 miles from our planet - 124 miles closer than last month's Strawberry Supermoon. (If you missed our post about the June Strawberry Supermoon, you can check it out here!)

The moon can also impact activity within the animal kingdom, from hunting and migration patterns, to coral spawning, and even circalunar rhythms - similar to the circadian rhythms we are likely more familiar with. Many of these patterns have been well documented, but still hold much mystery as to why the lunar cycle seems to trigger zoological phenomena around the world.

Great Herons hanging out mid-migration, queuing up in a line for no particular reason as they meander down a sandbar in Everglades National Park in Southern Florida

Great Herons Migrating: Everglades National Park, FL - Photo Credit: Chris Blake

For centuries, lunar cycles have been thought to affect human moods as well, with ancient scholars connecting the full moon to spikes in irrational behavior. Many studies have shown that the bright light resulting from a full moon can reduce the quality of your sleep - obviously even more so during an extremely bright supermoon! This is because the increased levels of light may increase sleep latency, or the time between the initial stages of sleep and REM. REM sleep is important for memory coding, hormonal regulation and muscle repair. If your time spent in REM is decreased around the full moon, you may feel irritable, off-balance and fatigued. Some connection has also been made between the lunar cycle and cardiovascular health, other studies have found that participants have lower blood pressure around the full and new moons.

Here are some activities you can do in the Outdoors during the Buck Supermoon this July to refresh and recharge both body and mind.

A woman wearing black looks out over San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California as she meditates and awaits the sunset

Sunset meditation: San Bernardino National Forest - Photo Credit: Caitlin Mary Parker Allen


Meditation, controlled breathing and mindful activity can sometimes be difficult to do at home. Between the persistent temptation of wifi, the noise of urban living, and people who rely on you, carving out time for yourself is tough. The full and new moons are the pinnacles of the moon phases, and a powerful spiritual time to reflect and recharge away from the stresses of work and the household. Check out a dark sky park near you for the ideal place to look inward with minimal distractions.

A dusty canyon in Death Valley National Park in Southern California

Mosaic Canyon hike: Death Valley National Park - Photo Credit: Caitlin Mary Parker Allen

Take a Hike

Although the temptation to curl up in front of the TV when you are low on energy is strong, much of the time this will make you feel even worse the next day. The physical result of minimal activity for an extended period can leave your muscles stiff and harm your quality of sleep. Regardless if you are a fan of vigorous treks, or more into chill strolls, a hike will allow you to channel your energy into something productive. On top of the natural increases in dopamine and serotonin that exercise induces via endorphins, you can also end the day proud of your accomplishments.

The Buck Supermoon this year will peak at 11:37am PST, so you will be able to see it all throughout the day - though it will be far more brilliant after the sun has set.

A scrubby forest looks inviting and mysterious at the same time, near Elk Prairie Campground in California

Beautiful views from Elk Prairie Campsite, CA - Photo Credit: Caitlin Mary Parker Allen

Relax Out in Nature

Ever wonder why stock imagery posted everywhere from airports to desktop backgrounds to dentist’s offices select pictures of nature for us to look at? Studies have shown that looking at nature causes reductions of stress, and increases self esteem as well. Nature can serve as a distraction from our own problems, and a reminder of the beauty of the world around us. Here are some beautiful camping sites where you can take in the scenery around you during the day, and see it bathed in light from the Buck Supermoon after the sun has set.

Five Friends take in the sheer majesty of Angels Landing in Zion National Park in Utah

Connecting at Angel's Landing: Zion National Park, UT - Photo Credit: Falco Rodriguez

Connect with Friends and Family

Take advantage of the holiday season and balmy weather this month by spending time with those closest to you. Hiking can bring a group together in pursuit of a common goal, and brings a sense of unity by achieving something together. Ditch the screens and spend some quality time in nature at these idyllic sites close to the city, where you can bond over a trail and sleep next to each under the full moon. Don’t worry, you can be back home in time for Sunday chores!

A woman wearing black and a backwards hat cooks at her campsite, all her cooking gear and groceries laid out on a white table in the middle of the desert

Campsite Cooking Setup - Credit Caitlin Mary Parker Allen

Cook a Meal Outdoors

Although the frozen section at Trader Joe’s goes hard, (shoutout to their famous pork and ginger soup dumplings), there can be something gratifying about making your own meal from scratch. Cooking over a campfire takes patience, and this return to basics can be restorative and calming. Whether you’re a beginner or a MasterChef, there are soulful camping recipes out there for everyone. And don’t worry about taking lamps to see your meal while you eat - the light from the supermoon will take care of that! (OK, maybe take a few lamps just in case some clouds roll in.)

The Buck Moon, also known as the Salmon Moon and Berry Moon, is a time for reinvigoration, and exploring the outdoors under the unusually bright night sky. So if you are feeling tired from the midyear slump, or simply want to get out and enjoy the warm summer nights, block off your calendar for the closest, biggest, and brightest full moon of 2022 - this Wednesday, July 13th!

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog updates to enjoy this three part Summer 2022 Supermoon series. Here's a link to part one, discussing last month's Strawberry Supermoon.


Find a dispersed campsite near National Park land. Learn a new camping recipe, or get tips to enhance your thruhiking. Be among the first to get exclusive stories, trail reports and more from our growing team of experienced campers, backpackers, thru hikers, and fellow adventure lovers.


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