Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fun Event on Doomsday (not)

This is a great little story from Andean Trekker about how he spent his 'end of the world' day.  And also - how this is a very big beginning for his family also.

The Mayan Apocalypse and Geocachers - 21 December 2012

Mayan Calendar Geocoin
Geocachers braving the cold at the Cline Observatory
For months we've been hearing all the hype about the end of the world coming on 21 December 2012. According to the news there were a number of folks who really believe that the end was really coming.  We heard about folks in Russia paying big bucks to sleep the day away in a bunker. Others spent lots of money to go to some village in France that was supposed to be one of the few places that was to survive the destruction. A few others were reported to have sold off everything and partied as thought there would be no tomorrow. The distorted version was that the Mayan calendar predicted this date as the end. In fact the Mayan calendar simply resets, starts over or cycles again on 21 December 2012. With all the hype a group of local geocachers thought it would be fun to get together the night of the 21st to take a look at the skies over the northern hemisphere at the Cline Observatory at Guilford Technical Community College. After all, if there was some kind of super special alignment of the planets wouldn't an observatory with its high powered telescope help us see it?  A local geocacher named markcase (also a science teacher at a local high school) organize the event.

About 7 p.m. sumajhuarmi and I made it to the assigned coordinates. We were some of the last ones to arrive. Having obeyed the instructions included on the cache page we were ready for the cold. We had the layers on. I in my long trench coat and Peruvian chullo (knitted tobagan). Upon arrival we signed the log for It's the End of the World! (GC41MQ9) and were quickly escorted onto the telescope platform. Prof Tom English and an assistant controlled the computer that slewed the telescope into position. We took a look at several stars, star clusters, Jupiter and four of its moons as well as our own moon. The images were spectacular. We had to wait for patches of clouds to dissipate but that just gave us an opportunity to visit more.

It was a cold and blustery night but a great time for a get-together and celebrate the fact that the world wasn't going to end this way. Remember Y2K and all the fears that generated?  Jesus himself said that only the Father knows. We need not fear the prophecies of those who regularly predict the end of the world or the second coming on a specific date. They simply don't know what they are saying.

We wrapped up this educational experience with a group photo and some cookies thanks to the thoughtfulness of sumajhuarmi. We thanked the staff of the college and markcase for organizing the even. It's great to be back in the USA and have the opportunity to get to know local geocachers through events like this. Later in the evening our youngest daughter contacted us from Mexico where she was with her boyfriend to meet his family. They had taken a balloon ride over the Aztec pyramids near Mexico City where he arranged a romantic marriage proposal. She said "yes"! Instead of the "end", 21 December 2012 is a beginning" for our family!

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