Jump to content


Photo

An OFLI Dark Sky Adventure in an Ancient Land

  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 Charlie Hein

Charlie Hein

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 12308
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2003
  • Loc: 26.06.08N, +80.23.08W

Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:46 AM

An OFLI Dark Sky Adventure in an Ancient Land

By James Barnett

#2 rockethead26

rockethead26

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3318
  • Joined: 21 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Arizona, USA

Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:04 AM

What a great adventure and even better story telling. Thanks for sharing that, Jim. The fact that you found Sky Rock is simply a great piece of detective work. That Galen Rowell photo, is one of my favorites of his. I have a 16x24 of another of his images of Owens Valley that I bought at his gallery the month after he died.

#3 LateViewer

LateViewer

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1208
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Pelham NY

Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:21 PM

If this were facebook I would have just clicked "like".

Looks like a great trip.

I wish I could drive to such places a easily as you can from Petaluma.

#4 City Kid

City Kid

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2339
  • Joined: 06 May 2009
  • Loc: Northern Indiana

Posted 25 August 2012 - 06:13 PM

Wow! When you go on a trip you really do it right. I can't help but wonder if you ever spent any time sleeping. I spend so little time at truly dark skies that I always stay up until dawn. I'd have to go without sleep to do everything you guys do. What do you do with all of the telescope equipment when you leave the campsite? Do you put all of it in a tent? Lock any up in cars? Just leave some of it out? Sounds like it was an awesome trip.

#5 Philip Levine

Philip Levine

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 588
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2007
  • Loc: near Boston, MA

Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:33 PM

James,
Really enjoyed the article, a very interesting read.
What a talented and resourceful group here on CN.
Phil

#6 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20297
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:18 PM

Hi City Kid.

Good questions.

Yeah, we don't get much sleep. Between the elevation, oxygen deprivation, low calorie intake, lots of exercise and sleep deprivation. It took me almost two weeks to rest up after returning. Gotta pay to play. :grin: I did lose 12 pounds.

As for equipment when leaving camp, remember that these campsites are very remote and fairly harsh. All but a couple of campsites were occupied by fellow astronomers. In the wilds, where there is no law, I find that people tend to be more respectful of property than back in the rat race. Everyone decided what to do with their own gear. Most just left it set up covered. Some moved it into tents. No one put it in their car that I know of. I had so much stuff (extra OTAs) that I set up a tent just for gear storage (i.e., a warehouse) and put stuff not in use in that tent.

This was a very enjoyable trip. I'm in the midst of planning the big 2013 trip now. I'll provide details in the General Observing forum on CN once plans start to firm up. Y'all will be invited. The more the merrier. The 2013 trip will be a truly jaw-dropping, once in a lifetime epic. Oh, okay, twice in a lifetime for me. I plan on repeating a 2008 solo dark sky outing I undertook, but extending it in time geography a bit. :winky:

Regards,

Jim

#7 7331Peg

7331Peg

    Sirius Observer

  • *****
  • Posts: 1930
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2008
  • Loc: North coast of Oregon

Posted 26 August 2012 - 02:31 PM

Very absorbing material, Jim, and well done, too. The photos of the ancient rock sites are stunning -- I lost track of time staring at the last few. I could almost hear the surrealistic sounds of an old Indian flute in the background, with Castenada chanting over the top of it.


John :refractor:

#8 drollere

drollere

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1581
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2010
  • Loc: sebastopol, california

Posted 26 August 2012 - 04:42 PM

i enjoyed this trip tremendously. the mix of personalities was invigorating, and culminated in tom's "ATF should be a convenience store, not a federal agency" T shirt. there was a great spirit of collaboration and mutual assistance and killer skies, except for the windy night when i believe jim slightly bested me in funny thermal headwear.

i stayed in an air conditioned valley motel rather than go in for a camper's exposure to heat, but that also meant i missed the hike to the petroglyphs, which is a great adventure read as well. i'm glad you posted the picture of the valley from low on the wall of the hike, with the verdant canal in view. i had never seen the bishop area before and it was an eye opener. bishop is like a town in the 1950's, a major trucking lane down main street and tree lined residential blocks in a beautiful, deep mountain valley.

it was a pleasure meeting neil and absorbing his theories on achromatic refractors and his tale of optical theory disputes on CN, which made jim laugh out loud. and it was very kind of you jim to loan me the use of your CPC-1100 for the trip at the price of a collimation.

the variety of telescopes and mountings was enlightening to use, and the sky was beautiful, with the summer milky way rising at about half zenith, visible to the horizon pole to pole and in great detail. the seeing was very good, and sharpened my dissatisfaction with my coastal conditions and led me to take steps to remedy it.

as i said the mix of personalities was very congenial and there was an air of collaboration that was welcoming and also instructive (jim's demonstrations of the AP140, several eyepieces and a small mak cass; neil's small achromat), which i feel reflects very well of jim's spirit as a leader.

i look forward to a future session at the farm.

#9 City Kid

City Kid

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2339
  • Joined: 06 May 2009
  • Loc: Northern Indiana

Posted 26 August 2012 - 05:01 PM

Bruce, how far was your hotel from where everyone was camping?

Phil

#10 astroneil

astroneil

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1806
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2009
  • Loc: res publica caledoniae

Posted 26 August 2012 - 05:28 PM

Halloha Jim,


Eh up, bringing me out of retirement like this…. Shame on you! :lol:

Man, that was a quick CN publication? :grin:

Great stuff! :bow: :bow: :bow:

Ah, fond memories!

Where did the cobalt blue skies go? Those majestic Sagittarius Star Clouds? Those aethereal mountain views and mysterious petroglyphs? The whacky jokes, the impossible stories, the wicked banter…..and the high of imbibing on super strong ale at journey’s end.

Seems like it happened a lifetime ago now……sigh.

You’re right about the effects of high altitude. I think, in retrospect, that I was working at ~ 80% cognitive capacity for much of the week…..and it showed at times.

You never mentioned that Mr. Bean moment where I walked into and broke your patio door on the morning after the landing. :lol: Ermm , sorry ‘bout that. :crazy:

The whole trip – the people I met and the places I visited- were a great inspiration to me and I consider myself very fortunate to have lived it.

All I can say is a Big Thank You! for inviting me over and putting me up.

Your life will never be the same again. :lol:

Seriously though, CN is very fortunate indeed to have someone like you on board.

But you know what they say don’t you?

veritas in caritate! :bow:


Your chum in the sun,

Neil. ;)

Pictured below:

The loony contubernium: Left to Right: Yours truly, JR, Tom, Randy, Brucy, Lonnie, Jeff & Reuben.

Attached Files



#11 astroneil

astroneil

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1806
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2009
  • Loc: res publica caledoniae

Posted 26 August 2012 - 05:29 PM

Remember the 'Demon' Rock? Far out!

Attached Files



#12 astroneil

astroneil

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1806
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2009
  • Loc: res publica caledoniae

Posted 26 August 2012 - 05:35 PM


it was a pleasure meeting neil and absorbing his theories on achromatic refractors and his disputes on CN, which made jim laugh out loud.


Eh up Bruce! :lol:

'twas a pleasure to meet you too. I do need to read some more philosophy :confused:

Best regards,

Neil ;)

#13 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20297
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 26 August 2012 - 06:15 PM

That was cool. Looks like a mummy out of a 1940s horror flick.

For context, that shot is from a portion of the trip that, in the interest of space and CN bandwidth, I left out. Neil, Jeff, Reuben and I went four wheeling in the Alabama Foothills, at the base of Mount Whitney. It is a filming locale used for dozens of Hollywood films. In fact, the main road is called "Movie Road".

That boulder was surreal. I also liked the the big rock pile we visited first.

Here are a few more shots for posterity.

Posted Image

That's Tom's big, multi-room tent.

Posted Image

Chateau Bowling (Lonnie's tent).

Posted Image

Looking down on Bishop from 9500 feet, across the Owens Valley to the Sierras.

Posted Image

Nice interplay of sunlight on a Bristlecone.

Regards,

Jim

#14 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20297
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 26 August 2012 - 06:18 PM

Bruce's motel was in Big Pine on the valley floor about 25 miles from the campground, a climb of 4500 feet.

Regards,

Jim

#15 johnthomas

johnthomas

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 151
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Oklahoma City

Posted 26 August 2012 - 06:58 PM

Good read. Thanks for sharing. Makes me want to go.

#16 Matt Lindsey

Matt Lindsey

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 403
  • Joined: 06 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.

Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:39 PM

Great report Jim. Exploring the mysteries of both sky and land.

#17 drollere

drollere

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1581
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2010
  • Loc: sebastopol, california

Posted 26 August 2012 - 08:37 PM

phil, i stayed in the big pine motel in big pine. it was about a 20 minute drive to the campground, including a hilarious slalom section of twists and big humps that lift you out of your seat. the highlight is a single lane blind curve that slices between two rock walls. very fun to drive and definitely kept me awake on the early morning drive home.

the motel is your classic concrete block backpacker's crash pad with a supercapacity air conditioner and a sign in the bathroom that asks guests please not to use the towels to clean engine parts. highly recommended.

#18 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20297
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 26 August 2012 - 08:56 PM

John:

You'll be only 12 hours away from next year's destination. We citizens of the People's Republic of California will have a 19 hour drive to the site. I'm hoping some of our CN colleagues from Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas can make it. It'd be fun to have a big, ad hoc, CN group gathering.

I'll provide details in a couple of weeks. We're looking at the first week of September 2013.

Regards,

Jim

#19 Americal

Americal

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 210
  • Joined: 14 Sep 2007
  • Loc: La Verne, CA

Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:39 AM

Very nice writeup, Jim. Reading it almost seems like I'm there... oh, I was wasn't I? Kidding aside it was a great mix of personalities, temperament and experiences.
Tuesday night Ruben and I were commenting on what we assumed was the light dome of Bishop to the north, a faint greenish glow. Duh, Bishop is almost due west of Grandview. I did some snooping about when I got home and it seems there was a pretty strong sky glow and oxygen wave event that night. I'd seen auroras as a kid in Illinois but that was a first for me. The viewing was good every night but Thursday night was something special.
Great trip, I'd do it again on a moment's notice.

#20 t.r.

t.r.

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4446
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2008
  • Loc: 1123,6536,5321

Posted 27 August 2012 - 07:02 AM

Quite the "Vision Quest" experience you have had there! A dream trip for me if there ever was one. It included all the things I enjoy...observing, hiking, archaeology and comradery. I'll pencil in 2013. If you lost 12 pounds Jim, you didn't take enough Dos Equis! :grin:

#21 johnthomas

johnthomas

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 151
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Oklahoma City

Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:03 AM

Jim:

Where is your 2013 trip?

#22 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20297
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:48 AM

I have a few potential sites in mind. At this point, all I can say is that it will be in the Four Corners region; whether Arizona, New Mexico, Utah or Colorado is TBD. Whatever we come up with, it will include lots of interesting outdoor activities of both the daytime and nighttime varieties, some naturalism, archaeology and/or paleontology, geology, mineralogy, hiking, trekking, etc.

Regards,

Jim

#23 bilgebay

bilgebay

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4192
  • Joined: 06 Nov 2008
  • Loc: Turkiye - Istanbul and Marmaris

Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:29 PM

Lovely! A great bunch of people, fantastic sights to see and a great narration! I wish I could join you guys in one of your trips :)

#24 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20297
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 27 August 2012 - 03:32 PM

Albert:

Have you ever been to Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania?

It's quite nice for astronomy and about 5 hours from the Big Apple, give or take an hour for traffic depending on day and time of departure.

Regards,

Jim

#25 Starman1

Starman1

    Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 22873
  • Joined: 23 Jun 2003
  • Loc: Los Angeles

Posted 28 August 2012 - 05:38 PM

I have a few potential sites in mind. At this point, all I can say is that it will be in the Four Corners region; whether Arizona, New Mexico, Utah or Colorado is TBD. Whatever we come up with, it will include lots of interesting outdoor activities of both the daytime and nighttime varieties, some naturalism, archaeology and/or paleontology, geology, mineralogy, hiking, trekking, etc.

Regards,

Jim

I've observed from the north of the Grand Canyon and had marvelously dark skies.
There are many decent viewing sites from north of Flagstaff to the AZ border.
Extreme SE AZ in the Chiricahua Mtns is also great viewing (that's SE of Tucson).
Don't overlook the Tonopah NV area, too. One of the "black" LP zones.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics