I remember seeing the promising full moon, in the sky like the light at the end of the tunnel of black night. For a while, it was all we could see, other than the dust and rocks our tires kicked into the headlights on the remote mountain road.
I sat in the passenger seat of the old truck next to my best friend since birth, Jenelle. We had grown up in these foothills, yet we’d never experienced them like this before. She caught me staring at the moon and laughed. It sounded like nervous anticipation of whatever was at the end of this dirt pathway through the trees, or maybe she was tickled by the way I anxiously twisted this one strand of hair, always the same piece. We’d come this far, nearly an hour outside of Boulder at midnight. We weren’t backing out now.
Jenelle popped it into four-wheel drive as the road grew steeper, and around another hairpin curve is when we heard it: a thumping rhythm, almost like the mountain’s racing heartbeat. We crept in blackness toward the pulse. As it grew louder, my senses heightened, until my eyes caught the flicker of a red plume. A bonfire. This was really happening.
It was called a full moon party. A group of Boulder DJs picked a remote mountain location every month during the full moon and invited people to listen, dance around the fire and camp until the sun came up. It was one part sober rave, one part ancestral tribal and totally Boulder. We’d somehow secured a word-of-mouth-only invite.
The darkness bled into daylight in a blur for me. Music, dancing, fire, laughter, birds chirping, euphoria, exhaustion. We drove home in a daze, like we’d just had a one-night stand with the mysterious mountain we’d lived next door to all our lives.
I never went back, nor did I ever hear of another full moon party in Boulder County. Maybe they’re still going on, and that was my one chance. Maybe they have died. But every full moon since, I swear I can feel the earth throbbing, or maybe that’s just the drum inside of me, a reminder that everything is connected. A reminder of the most Boulder night I’ve ever had.
Full moon parties may or may not be Boulder mythology, but full moon suppers are for sure a thing. The next one is 6-9 p.m. Thursday (June 8) at The Food Lab, 1825 Pearl St., in Boulder. No nighttime hairpin curves required.
This Full Moon Supper is with author and chef Annemarie Ahearn of Salt Water Farms. For $75, you can join Ahearn as she cooks seasonal dishes from her first cookbook. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for other ways to be Boulder this week? Here are a few highlights:
Dead & Company: The highly anticipated Dead & Company concert kicks off Friday (June 9) at 6:30 p.m. at Folsom Field, 914 Broadway St., on the University of Colorado campus. Tickets are $93. There’s also a show on Saturday (June 10).
Ironman Boulder: The local Ironman triathlon is Sunday (June 11). Read our official scoop on TravelBoulder.com to learn about where to watch it and how to get the most out of this exciting event.
Evening Wildflower Stroll: See nature’s decorations on the mountainside during an evening hike up Chautauqua. Meet at the Chautauqua Dining Hall, 900 Baseline Road, Thursday (June 8) at 5:30 p.m. and learn about the spring flowers along the trail. This three-mile hike covers 400 feet in elevation gain, so dress appropriately. Info: email@example.com
Longmont Summer Concerts: Here’s a blend of both the outdoors and live music. On Friday (June 9) from 6-9 p.m., Downtown Longmont is hosting a monthly concert, free and open to the public. See the outdoor show at Fourth Avenue and Kimbark Street. The performer this month: The Goodies. This also happens to be an all-high-school reunion for the St. Vrain Valley School District.