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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There?
      #6104177 - 09/27/13 01:09 PM

I've got 5 days to burn next weekend and am seriously considering a solo trip here during New Moon. I've never been, and the Monument is smack-dab in the middle of some of the darkest skies in the United States. Has anyone ever observed there? If so care to share your impressions?

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Chris Greene
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 12/04/05

Loc: Dark Sky, Idaho
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6104194 - 09/27/13 01:12 PM

Not specifically there but I've done a star party at Bryce and they should still be going on weekends.

My favorite area of the country and I'm thinking of making a run down there myself next week.


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6104233 - 09/27/13 01:24 PM

I've spent months of my life there, and I will get back to you later with some specific suggestions. What kind of vehicle will you have?

Dark skies.

Jack


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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6104248 - 09/27/13 01:29 PM

Quote:

Not specifically there but I've done a star party at Bryce and they should still be going on weekends.

My favorite area of the country and I'm thinking of making a run down there myself next week.




I would think central Idaho would also have some of the darkest skies in the country as well, with spectacular scenery. Perhaps finding accessible, level spots with clear enough horizons might be a bit more challenging than the Grand Staircase/Escalante region, remote though much of the latter is.


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6104252 - 09/27/13 01:32 PM

Quote:

Not specifically there but I've done a star party at Bryce and they should still be going on weekends.

My favorite area of the country and I'm thinking of making a run down there myself next week.




Bryce is right next door. I plan on being there from the 4th through the 7th, leaving on the 8th.


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SpaceConqueror3
super member


Reged: 09/19/13

Loc: Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #6104253 - 09/27/13 01:32 PM

While visiting Bryce Canyon NP several years ago I camped at a KOA in little town of Panguitch, UT which is at around 6500ft elevation or so. Despite being in town, the sky was still pretty remarkable. I had a great time with my 80mm Orion Short Tube. But be prepared for it to be really cold if you go. I remember shivering in my tent in late September as it was only 25F in the early morning as we weren't ready, gear wise, for it being that cold at night.

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #6104266 - 09/27/13 01:37 PM

Quote:

I've spent months of my life there, and I will get back to you later with some specific suggestions. What kind of vehicle will you have?

Dark skies.

Jack




Much appreciated Jack. I'm driving a 2005 Toyota 4Runner 4WD and was eyeing some of the primitive campsites in the north end of the Escalante Canyons unit off of Burr Trail Road. Any insights/suggestions/warnings you may have would be most welcome. I've already checked the road conditions report for the area on the BLM website - judging from the number of washout and impassable listings it looks like the rains have been good this summer.


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Chris Greene
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 12/04/05

Loc: Dark Sky, Idaho
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6104288 - 09/27/13 01:49 PM

Chris, there are vast unpopulated areas of Idaho that indeed have very dark skies. The problem is that many of them are in designated wilderness so unless you're backpacking in a scope, they aren't accessible. Fortunately, much of southern Idaho, north and south of the I-84 corridor have skies *most* people would kill for.

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Jay_Bird
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/04/06

Loc: USA
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6104386 - 09/27/13 02:46 PM

A long August weekend at the Escalante/Petrified Forest State Park campground and lake, which is NW of the town of Escalante, Utah, afforded one night that followed a day for monsoon moisture to dissipate, that was a tie for darkest skies I've seen, and that includes comparison with a number of fairly remote national parks. Going more backcountry should be memorable! Be sure to try the pizza at bed & breakfast & bar place on east side of Escalante.

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Jay_Bird]
      #6104428 - 09/27/13 03:12 PM

Thanks for the info and the tip about the pizza Jay. After 4 days in the canyons a cold beer and a few slices may be like a little bit of heaven.

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bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6104438 - 09/27/13 03:22 PM

I found myself in Escalante for a couple of nights about 5 years ago. I simply drove south of town on some dirt road for about 20 minutes, stopped and set up. No one came by all night and it was one of the darkest nights of observing I've ever had. Just a fabulous place. Have fun.

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Jay_Bird
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/04/06

Loc: USA
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: bunyon]
      #6104453 - 09/27/13 03:32 PM

I forgot to add this before:

As I'm sure you've studied, the area is full of great hikes from longer Calf Creek Falls trail to east, to shorter but colorful mesa-top trail with lots of stone 'logs' and regional views at Petrified Forest State Park.

You may have to ask a ranger at Escalante's visitor center for the national monument to get directions to one of the more unique: extensive dinosaur trackways in the monument 20-30 miles southeast of Escalante.


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Seldom
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/05/12

Loc: N of Cedar City Light Dome
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6104454 - 09/27/13 03:32 PM

Burr Trail is paved until you get almost to Notom Bullfrog road. I doubt there's much nighttime traffic, so you shouldn't have to drive too far from pavement to get quality dark.

Definitely don't drive Rt. 12 in the dark. Views south of Burr Trail are spectacular, as are the unguarded drop offs off the Hogback.

Re: quality eats.

North from Burr trail on 12 - Capitol Reef Inn in Torrey has good dinners and Slackers has a good burger. The SunGlo diner in Bicknell has legendary pies.

South from Burr Trail on 12 - Fosters at Bryce has terrific soups.


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Seldom]
      #6104737 - 09/27/13 06:39 PM

dpippel,

Escalante is a place dear to my heart. I started traveling the canyons there in the autumn of 1963, after running Glen Canyon. I've done first descents of slot canyons, led week-long wilderness group trips, private trips, and made dozens of long solo trips.

General. I would divide it into four sections.

Grand Staircase, with innumerable observing sites and some good elevation. Very isolated, and roads can turn grim after rains. Black, black, black zone.

The Escalante river and western side canyons (the best desert canyons in the world). Head down the Hole-in the-Rock Road. Great trail heads from Harris Wash (probably gray zone) down to Davis Gulch, where the road leaves the Monument as becomes 4X4. No reason to go farther--you start running into the light dome from Bullfrog Marina. Unfortunately, all the trail heads have group camping, and this is a busy time of year. I would pull off before you hit the trail head, set up, and crash; or, see if anyone is at the trail head and if not set up. Very little traffic here at night. Check with the rangers at the office in Escalante about camping--it can get complicated, stupidly so. Not many patrols in the middle of the night though--a benefit of sequestration. I'd risk it. Leave your scope set up and crash in the SUV, no tent---you're not camping, you're just taking a nap between observations!

On the east side of the Escalante... Head out east from Boulder on the Burr Trail. Go beyond the end of Long Canyon. Wolverine Petrified Wood Area is good. Notice the little "cutoff road" by Little Death Hollow. Nobody uses it. Or go to the end of the road at Moody Canyon--if you can get there. You will pass a line shack. Keep going and park on a slight hill just after you cross the creek. Don't go much farther; the road leaves the Monument and there mind breaking sections ahead. There are fewer people on the east side of the river.

North of Boulder on Route 12, below the rim of the Aquarius Plateau. Just as the road turns decisively north you will find a turnout with a panoramic view of SE Utah. Nearby are two-tracks leading to various very un-offiicial camp sites. Get off the road and set up. About 9,500 feet. Gets my vote as one the best observing sites in the U.S. Black, black, black.

That should keep you busy!

Campgrounds. Petrified Forest State Park: blue zone, nice sites, and, and...SHOWERS! Calf Creek: always full and down in a canyon. Pine Creek: same, and only a few sites. Not many official campgrounds in the Escalante country.

Have a great trip

Dark skies.

Jack


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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #6104779 - 09/27/13 07:00 PM

Quote:


North of Boulder on Route 12, below the rim of the Aquarius Plateau. Just as the road turns decisively north you will find a turnout with a panoramic view of SE Utah. Nearby are two-tracks leading to various very un-offiicial camp sites. Get off the road and set up. About 9,500 feet. Gets my vote as one the best observing sites in the U.S. Black, black, black.




But watch out for the large number of cattle grazing open-range in this area, including quite a few wandering along the pavement of Route 12 itself! Many of the cattle are not inclined to be in any hurry to move out of the way of an approaching car, and a substantial portion of them are of a variety which has black coloration. Or at least that was true in summer 2012 when I made that trip.

Edited by FirstSight (09/27/13 07:02 PM)


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #6104790 - 09/27/13 07:08 PM

Quote:

Have a great trip

Dark skies.

Jack




Jack, just wow. Thanks a million for the great information! You've given me a lot to think about. Right now I'm seriously considering heading down Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. to the primitive camping area near Sooner Rocks. There's also camping allowed in previously disturbed areas within 50 feet of the road along FR260, FR275, and FR280 as alternative options, as is the Cutoff Road near Little Death Hollow that you pointed out. Since I'm going to be there for four days and nights I'd rather set up a camp than try and poach something sleeping in my vehicle. From what I can see on the chart, the whole chunk of territory along Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. is in a black zone.

The area you mention north of Boulder sounds VERY tempting, but at 9500 feet it's gonna be c-c-c-old up there. Probably too cold for my thin desert rat blood this time of year. I'll definitely keep it in mind for early summer though. For this trip I think I'll try to stay below 5000 feet.

Once again. many thanks for the benefit of your years of experience in the area. It's obvious that you love the place. Although I've been to Moab and Canyonlands many times this will be my first visit to Escalante and I'm really looking forward to it.


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6104811 - 09/27/13 07:27 PM

Quote:

I've never been, and the Monument is smack-dab in the middle of some of the darkest skies in the United States. Has anyone ever observed there? If so care to share your impressions?




Excellent idea!
The GSENM is a huge area, but you've narrowed it down to the area I'm most familiar with... Boulder, the Burr Trail, and Escalante. Bryce has a lot more light scatter from the big-time lodging nearby. I live to the north, over Boulder Mtn. and, though I haven't observed over there yet, there's several places I'd like to try. I'll have to get back to you on those... I've got to get down to Capitol Reef for my astro-volunteer duty. Looks like we have a good evening in store.
http://cleardarksky.com/c/CptRfNPUTkey.html?1
Linton


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6104834 - 09/27/13 07:37 PM

Linton,

Oh, poor you! You have to go down to Capital Reef for "astro duty."

Dark skies.

Jack


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #6104838 - 09/27/13 07:40 PM

Indeed. What a chore!

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6104845 - 09/27/13 07:45 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I've never been, and the Monument is smack-dab in the middle of some of the darkest skies in the United States. Has anyone ever observed there? If so care to share your impressions?




Excellent idea!
The GSENM is a huge area, but you've narrowed it down to the area I'm most familiar with... Boulder, the Burr Trail, and Escalante. Bryce has a lot more light scatter from the big-time lodging nearby. I live to the north, over Boulder Mtn. and, though I haven't observed over there yet, there's several places I'd like to try. I'll have to get back to you on those... I've got to get down to Capitol Reef for my astro-volunteer duty. Looks like we have a good evening in store.
http://cleardarksky.com/c/CptRfNPUTkey.html?1
Linton




Have a great time Linton! Let us know how it was when you get a chance.


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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6105774 - 09/28/13 11:39 AM

Be aware that if the Government shuts down this next week all the National Parks will close (but not the support for mining for gas and oil). Also the BLM will halt all non-emergency use of their land as well link. I'm not sure how they'll stop use of Forest Land or BLM land though. Anyway, just an FYI.

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Seldom
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/05/12

Loc: N of Cedar City Light Dome
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #6106064 - 09/28/13 02:20 PM

Quote:

Be aware that if the Government shuts down this next week all the National Parks will close (but not the support for mining for gas and oil). Also the BLM will halt all non-emergency use of their land as well link. I'm not sure how they'll stop use of Forest Land or BLM land though. Anyway, just an FYI.




What effect will that have on the Utah Star Party? (FS land)


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Seldom]
      #6106124 - 09/28/13 03:01 PM

Jay - A government shutdown won't affect access to GSENM, and if it does happen there won't be anyone on patrol either I'd wager.

Seldom - Should have zero effect unless the area you're accessing is gated.


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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6106489 - 09/28/13 07:28 PM

I agree with Dippel that if your using BLM land and don't need services or are using land non-gated, you should be fine. Their police officers I believe will remain on duty from what I read but in all the years of using BLM land, I have only see an officer once on actual BLM land. DEA I saw once but that is a different story.

From a September 25th memo by the BLM Management on the impacts if the Government Shut Downs. Here is the link to the PDF.

Visitor Management: The BLM will close and secure visitor centers and facilities on public lands. Visitor activities that require a permit may be canceled or postponed. Contracted operations such as trash collection and toilet cleaning will be suspended. If practical, areas will
be posted with signs that state that no patrols, maintenance or other management activities will be provided including emergency or rescue services provided by BLM.

Special Recreation Permit Authorizations and Concession Leases
Commercial, competitive, and group authorization for events and activities --Concessions and some commercial outfitter and guide special recreation permits can continue operations as long
as they do not need BLM field monitoring and regulatory oversight in the short term, and are not operating in sites that have been closed. No new activities or launches will occur unless they meet the exceptions discussed above. New permit applications, modifications and renewals will not be received or processed. However, cost recovery events scheduled within 48 hours of the onset of the shutdown, which would pay BLM staff salary, will be allowed to proceed. Other
events scheduled to occur during the government shutdown will be canceled, postponed, or suspended. Vendors’ operations will be suspended. Individual permits in special areas- No new entries or activities will be allowed at the time of the
shutdown. Use of permitted areas should be ended as soon as practical, and no longer than within 48 hours of shutdown, such as at Long Term Visitor Areas or Aravaipa Canyon.

Volunteers
Volunteer activities would be discontinued during the shutdown.
Campgrounds and Other Recreation Sites
Campgrounds, boat ramps, and other recreation sites will be closed or posted as closed in areas where public access cannot practically be restricted. All facilities will be operationally shut down and posted accordingly, with gates locked, restrooms locked, and water systems shut down. Consistent with other Federal recreation providers, occupied sites would be given 48 hours to vacate, with the area shut down as the last visitor leaves. Shutdown activities for the
sites would be completed within the 48 hour period. Campground hosts and other volunteers would be given the same 48 hour period to vacate, and should not expect to receive any reimbursement for this period. National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS)
NRRS will be shut down. This is consistent with sister agencies that use the system. Refunds for previous reservations will be available through normal NRRS processes.
BLM Agency Technical Representative will initiate a closure of all BLM Rec.gov facilities.
a) All BLM facilities will have a message posted at a bulletin stating the site is closed until
further notice.
b) Recreation.gov will not allow anyone to make reservations for any BLM facility.
c) The Recreation.gov contractor will be open for business throughout any closure for customer service only and will NOT be taking advanced reservations.
d) Area POCs will be responsible for lifting closures once the shutdown has ended - (since each area may have slightly different reopening plans and time frames, they must notify Active
Network (NRRS contractor) when to resume normal operations specific to their facility).

So yes, there are impacts on BLM land and the National Parks in the area will be closed if this happens.

In terms of the Utah Star Party I contacted the office this week and since I paid for a permit on the Forest Land they will honor that permit in lieu of us using primitive camping sites which is what we intended. The campgrounds by Vernon Reservoir will not have the bathroom's drained until the shutdown is ended IF it happens but they should be functional. Also Thursday is looking like 20% chance of showers, Friday night should be clear as is Saturday and Sunday (I may stay through Sunday we'll see).

Edited by JayinUT (09/28/13 07:32 PM)


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #6106842 - 09/29/13 01:28 AM

Quote:

Linton,

Oh, poor you! You have to go down to Capital Reef for "astro duty."

Dark skies.

Jack




Yeah Jack... it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
No pay... late hours... but hey, the fringe benefits are great!
Linton


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: bunyon]
      #6106851 - 09/29/13 01:49 AM

Quote:

I simply drove south of town on some dirt road for about 20 minutes, stopped and set up. No one came by all night and it was one of the darkest nights of observing I've ever had.




Hmm... Smoky Mountain Road, by any chance?
I haven't been out on that *yet*, but it was recommended by a NPS Ranger from the North Rim. Apparently, it goes all the way down to Badwater, near Page, but there's a serious 4WD section near the midway point. Anyway, that was the darkest place she'd ever been.
A friend of mine from L.A. was out on Hole-in-the-Rock Road several years ago, with a bunch of other astro-fanatics after a week at the North Rim GCSP, and he and the others thought it was the darkest place they'd ever been. I'm seeing a pattern here.
Linton


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #6106860 - 09/29/13 02:07 AM

Quote:

Quote:


North of Boulder on Route 12, below the rim of the Aquarius Plateau. Just as the road turns decisively north you will find a turnout with a panoramic view of SE Utah. Nearby are two-tracks leading to various very un-offiicial camp sites. Get off the road and set up. About 9,500 feet. Gets my vote as one the best observing sites in the U.S. Black, black, black.




But watch out for the large number of cattle grazing open-range in this area, including quite a few wandering along the pavement of Route 12 itself! Many of the cattle are not inclined to be in any hurry to move out of the way of an approaching car, and a substantial portion of them are of a variety which has black coloration. Or at least that was true in summer 2012 when I made that trip.




Yeah, the cattle can be be a problem, especially the Black Angus, but at least they move slow. But deer and elk are more problematic, as they're more prone to darting out in front of you.
Linton


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6106903 - 09/29/13 03:18 AM

Quote:

Jack, just wow. Thanks a million for the great information! You've given me a lot to think about. Right now I'm seriously considering heading down Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. to the primitive camping area near Sooner Rocks. There's also camping allowed in previously disturbed areas within 50 feet of the road along FR260, FR275, and FR280 as alternative options, as is the Cutoff Road near Little Death Hollow that you pointed out. Since I'm going to be there for four days and nights I'd rather set up a camp than try and poach something sleeping in my vehicle. From what I can see on the chart, the whole chunk of territory along Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. is in a black zone.

The area you mention north of Boulder sounds VERY tempting, but at 9500 feet it's gonna be c-c-c-old up there. Probably too cold for my thin desert rat blood this time of year. I'll definitely keep it in mind for early summer though. For this trip I think I'll try to stay below 5000 feet.

Once again. many thanks for the benefit of your years of experience in the area. It's obvious that you love the place. Although I've been to Moab and Canyonlands many times this will be my first visit to Escalante and I'm really looking forward to it.




Dpippel,
Excellent advice from Jack, there. Not too much I can add.
Sounds like your wanting to get off the main roads, so that eliminates a few of my ideas, such as Head-of-the-Rocks scenic overlook (about 5 miles north of Escalante), the Hogsback (a couple miles north of Calf Creek campground), and 2 of the 3 scenic overlooks going over Boulder Mtn... Steep Creek (?) which I believe Jack was referring to and Larb Hollow, which is further north, toward Torrey. (You can see the La Sal Mtns, east of Arches, from the latter - roughly 130 miles away!) These are all places you can/must see during your daytime hours.
Be sure to check on current road conditions. I read that Hole-in-the-Rock Road incurred major damage in the epic rainstorms we recently received. There may be others. Hell's Backbone is always a rough ride, but it's namesake Grill in Boulder is *highly* recommended, if you've got the cash to spare.
About 6-8 miles east of Boulder, on the Burr Trail, is a primitive campground amidst some lovely Junipers on the north side of the road. I've been wanting to try a couple nights there sometime. It's just before you start to drop down into Long Canyon, which is awesome to drive through. The Capitol Reef end of that road is amazing too, with steep switchbacks descending down the Waterpocket Fold and the Henry Mtns towering up in the east, beyond Strike Valley.
I'd urge you to set aside a little time for Capitol Reef while you're in the neighborhood, but then I'm somewhat biased!
Linton


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bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6107009 - 09/29/13 07:08 AM

No clue, Linton. I was following a distance relay run (called the Blue Planet Run) and found myself in Escalante for two nights. I had the scope with me and the lady at the hotel said it was really dark. So I just sort of puttered around until I found a road that ran south and I went. Not the most organized session ever but my log book shows dozens of very faint objects and lots of exclamation points. So it isn't just in my memory that it was excellent.

I've also observed at Natural Bridges, which was fantastic. But not quite as dark as the night south of Escalante.

However, despite many trips to southern Utah for one thing and another and about a dozen observing session over the years, I live in the east. Don't confuse me with someone (like many here) that knows anything much about the area. All I can say is, anyone who likes dark sky and magnificent vistas should get themselves there at least once.

Quote:

Quote:

I simply drove south of town on some dirt road for about 20 minutes, stopped and set up. No one came by all night and it was one of the darkest nights of observing I've ever had.




Hmm... Smoky Mountain Road, by any chance?
I haven't been out on that *yet*, but it was recommended by a NPS Ranger from the North Rim. Apparently, it goes all the way down to Badwater, near Page, but there's a serious 4WD section near the midway point. Anyway, that was the darkest place she'd ever been.
A friend of mine from L.A. was out on Hole-in-the-Rock Road several years ago, with a bunch of other astro-fanatics after a week at the North Rim GCSP, and he and the others thought it was the darkest place they'd ever been. I'm seeing a pattern here.
Linton




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dpippel
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6107235 - 09/29/13 11:06 AM

Quote:

Excellent advice from Jack, there. Not too much I can add.
Sounds like your wanting to get off the main roads, so that eliminates a few of my ideas, such as Head-of-the-Rocks scenic overlook (about 5 miles north of Escalante), the Hogsback (a couple miles north of Calf Creek campground), and 2 of the 3 scenic overlooks going over Boulder Mtn... Steep Creek (?) which I believe Jack was referring to and Larb Hollow, which is further north, toward Torrey. (You can see the La Sal Mtns, east of Arches, from the latter - roughly 130 miles away!) These are all places you can/must see during your daytime hours.
Be sure to check on current road conditions. I read that Hole-in-the-Rock Road incurred major damage in the epic rainstorms we recently received. There may be others.




Thank for the additional suggestions Linton. I'll definitely be doing some exploring and hiking during daylight hours and plan on just going where my whim takes me in that regard. I'm trying to keep this trip as unstructured as I can. Instead of having an itinerary of stops to check off I want to simply experience the place. Let it happen to me so to speak. As for Hole-in-the-Rock Rd., the latest road conditions posted by the BLM on 9/22 show that it's in fairly good shape. I plan on calling them today to get the most current info. If this route is compromised I'll look for an alternative, which could be the Cutoff Rd. accessed from Wolverine Loop.


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woodscavenger
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Reged: 08/20/13

Loc: Boise, ID
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6108539 - 09/30/13 01:06 AM

I am wishing I was there now. We were down in Green River, ut and Escalante,ut for a week this summer. I was not into astronomy at the time. What a missed opportunity. We spent three days doing canyons off of hole-in-the rock rd. Some washboard but with my 2012 Sequoia we moved pretty quick down most of it. Have a great trip.

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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6108647 - 09/30/13 03:30 AM

Quote:

Thank for the additional suggestions Linton. I'll definitely be doing some exploring and hiking during daylight hours and plan on just going where my whim takes me in that regard. I'm trying to keep this trip as unstructured as I can. Instead of having an itinerary of stops to check off I want to simply experience the place. Let it happen to me so to speak. As for Hole-in-the-Rock Rd., the latest road conditions posted by the BLM on 9/22 show that it's in fairly good shape. I plan on calling them today to get the most current info. If this route is compromised I'll look for an alternative, which could be the Cutoff Rd. accessed from Wolverine Loop.




Fair enough. Play it by ear. You'll see a lot of these places without even trying.
Highway 12 is one of THE most scenic roads I've ever been on... and I've been around.
Oh... I think you'll like the DARK and transparent night sky, too! Have fun!
Linton


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dpippel
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Reged: 04/05/13

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Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6108989 - 09/30/13 10:13 AM

Thanks guys! Starting to get stoked now that the week has started. I'm leaving early Friday morning and am calling today to get an updated road report. So far the weather is looking PERFECT for the four days I'll be there. This could be epic!

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dpippel
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Reged: 04/05/13

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Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6109123 - 09/30/13 11:44 AM

Just spoke with Shannon (who was very friendly and accommodating) at the Escalante visitor center and it's a go! Game on! Anyone care to join me?

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dpippel
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Reged: 04/05/13

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Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6112040 - 10/01/13 09:41 PM

Called again today to confirm or deny that GSENM will be accessible during the shutdown. I was assured that it would be NO PROBLEM! w00t!!!! Come oooooooon Friday!

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seawolfe
sage


Reged: 06/26/13

Loc: N 47.11.23 W 122.20.18
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6112484 - 10/02/13 05:20 AM

Lucky you!

I wanted to go to and am still planning on going to Lassen Volcanic. But currently the main road through the park, which by the way is a STATE road, is closed. So hopefully the government will be up and running again by next Tuesday.

Hope...hope...hope!

Edited by seawolfe (10/02/13 05:21 AM)


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dpippel
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: seawolfe]
      #6112692 - 10/02/13 09:30 AM

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you seawolfe! I'm sure it will be all over by next week.

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Spaced
Post Laureate
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Reged: 03/01/05

Loc: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6114974 - 10/03/13 11:35 AM

I've added this thread to my personal favorites list, for future reference. What a wealth of information!

In 2001 I spent a week in Coyote Gulch (near Escalate) with my cousin, my daughter and my daughter's friend. It was backpacking only -- no astro gear other than binocs. In late May/early June high (for that area, anyhow) humidity prevailed, with almost nightly t/storms over the mountains to the west. But even so, we'd lie on the warm rocks at night and gaze at the universe.

One of these days . . .


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dpippel
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Spaced]
      #6116717 - 10/04/13 08:29 AM

Well folks, with the exception of my C11 OTA, my bike, and a cooler I'm all loaded up and ready to go. Heading out around 6:20AM AZ time. I'll be posting a trip report when I get back. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Clear skies...

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6125090 - 10/08/13 02:25 PM Attachment (6 downloads)

Dark, dark, DARK...

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dpippel
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6125096 - 10/08/13 02:29 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

And c-c-cold once the Sun went down. More later...

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6125115 - 10/08/13 02:39 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

My Sooner Rocks campsite at sunset...

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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6125410 - 10/08/13 04:47 PM

Quote:

I've got 5 days to burn next weekend and am seriously considering a solo trip here during New Moon. I've never been, and the Monument is smack-dab in the middle of some of the darkest skies in the United States. Has anyone ever observed there? If so care to share your impressions?


Well Ya , Grand Canyon (S/E) , Bryce Canyon ( N ),Zion (N/W) Monument Valley (E)I guess you can say I live right in the middle , Looking at Navajo Mountain & Grand Staircase Escalante from the front of my house

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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6125464 - 10/08/13 05:12 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

Looking out from the front of my house

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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6125467 - 10/08/13 05:14 PM Attachment (15 downloads)

One More

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6125509 - 10/08/13 05:38 PM

Very nice! You're a lucky man.

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6125518 - 10/08/13 05:43 PM

Quote:

Looking out from the front of my house




I was all the way around the other side of Navajo Mountain at Hole in the Rock on Sunday afternoon. Just me and the ravens. Quite a long drive even from your place.


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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6125631 - 10/08/13 06:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Looking out from the front of my house




I was all the way around the other side of Navajo Mountain at Hole in the Rock on Sunday afternoon. Just me and the ravens. Quite a long drive even from your place.


How about that ! Sunday we went to the top of Navajo Mountain with a friends 4X4 , We could see Rainbow Bridge ,Monument Valley , and what they think was Bullfrog Marina , I think We where looking at Halls Crossing , But I was voted down , If you look at the top of Navajo Mountain you can see some Towers ,We were about a few hundred yards pass the Towers , From Navajo Mountain to Home was I think about a Hour & 15 minutes ,

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Spaced
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/01/05

Loc: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6128204 - 10/10/13 12:27 AM

I really like your "campsite" photo!

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Spaced]
      #6128827 - 10/10/13 11:06 AM

Thanks Mike. For anyone interested in seeing more, here's a link to the album I put together with more images from my trip:

https://plus.google.com/photos/111765315233496354467/albums/59325573408602206...


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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6134783 - 10/13/13 11:16 AM Attachment (3 downloads)

Looking out from the top of Navajo Mountain, Hole In the Rock is over there to the right as you are looking at the photo , Some Where

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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6134823 - 10/13/13 11:39 AM Attachment (4 downloads)

behind me to the left guessing about 25 miles as the Crow fly's is Hole In The Rock , If memory serves this wash leads to the San Juan River.

Edited by Megabusa (10/13/13 11:56 AM)


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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6134851 - 10/13/13 11:53 AM Attachment (3 downloads)

Same place as the Photo on top is where this Vehicle went off the cliff , Every one in the Vehicle lost there lives They got the body's out but could not get the Vehicle so they left it there , Where I am standing in the first photo is close to the road where the Vehicle went off ,

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Megabusa
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/28/12

Loc: Page ,AZ
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Megabusa]
      #6134877 - 10/13/13 12:06 PM Attachment (5 downloads)

This is the Photo I was looking far , Again looking out from the top of Navajo Mountain , This is Monument Valley where You were.

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