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observing around big bend natl park

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#1 paul

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 01:34 AM

Hello,

I have off this weekend and the ability to fly anywhere I want to go. I was headed to RMSS in Colorado but the forecast is getting shaky. 

Big Bend however looks amazing. where is the best place to observe down there? I am tent camping with a 10" travel dob

Thanks!!

Paul



#2 mashirts

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 06:28 AM

There are off road one party campsites there.  Just you and the desert.  You just need a passenger car for many of those, no 4 wheel drive needed.  But that depends on conditions as well.  If you want a little company and restrooms, water etc.  Castalon campsite would be you best bet.  Rio grand village is nice but will have quite a bit of lights and trees.  Chisos basin is up high: a mile in elevation, but will have a few lights.


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#3 mashirts

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 06:49 AM

Paint gap sites were easy to get to. And they are a little higher in elevation, so a tad cooler. Castalon is closed due to a fire. Chisos would be your best bet this time of year if you are concerned about heat.
I never minded the heat myself. I lived there as a park volunteer and concession worker for two years.

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#4 siriusandthepup

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 07:45 AM

I recommend the Rio Grande Village campground. If you just have 2 days you are already short on time. It is not worth trying to isolate yourself from the little bit of civilization at the campground. I like to stay at the "A" campground. There is an A and a B campsites.

 

Enjoy the small conveniences there. It is perfect jumping off location for daytime sights - you will have more than two days worth of things to see within 10 miles of the campground. If you would like a list - let me know.

 

At night, if you want to isolate yourself a little, take your telescope over to the Rio Grande Village Visitor center parking lot. About 1/4 mile from your campsite. No one will be there but you! I have had the "lost in the sea of stars" (can't pick put constellations for all the extra stars) experience there before. Last time I was there, there were no outside lights there.

 

This would be my plan for maximizing your couple days. My 2 cents.


Edited by siriusandthepup, 24 June 2019 - 07:47 AM.

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#5 3c_273

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 08:05 AM

I observed there a couple of years ago. The skies are truly spectacular, but the environment is quite harsh. Even though it was in late February, the daytime temps

reached around 80F (27C) and the night time temps were below freezing.

 

I also endured a "dry hurricane" that blew my tent over, snapping the poles. I then learned that one can sleep in the back of a Prius!

 

You're also quite far from "civilization". To replace my tent, I needed to drive 130 miles to Ft Stockton to get a new one.

 

But I've never seen the zodiacal light better, and southern objects like Omega Cen were breathtaking.


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#6 siriusandthepup

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 03:25 PM

 

I also endured a "dry hurricane" that blew my tent over, snapping the poles. I then learned that one can sleep in the back of a Prius!

Forgot about that - lol. Often while you are camping especially in the evenings you will go from "No wind" to "OMG - Hurricane!" 40 - 60 mph winds in a heartbeat. Then 10 minutes or 30 minutes later, back to dead calm. STAKE YOUR TENT is mandatory if tent camping in Big Bend. A friend tells a story of a spectacle he observed one morning while he was camping in the Basin campground area. A young couple was chasing their tent while wrapped in their sleeping bags. The tent contained all their gear including coolers, clothes etc, which made the tent look interesting as it rolled at high speed. It ended up in the sewage treatment pond... sad, but true.


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#7 edwincjones

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:44 AM

Forgot about that - lol. Often while you are camping especially in the evenings you will go from "No wind" to "OMG - Hurricane!" 40 - 60 mph winds in a heartbeat. Then 10 minutes or 30 minutes later, back to dead calm. STAKE YOUR TENT is mandatory if tent camping in Big Bend. A friend tells a story of a spectacle he observed one morning while he was camping in the Basin campground area. A young couple was chasing their tent while wrapped in their sleeping bags. The tent contained all their gear including coolers, clothes etc, which made the tent look interesting as it rolled at high speed. It ended up in the sewage treatment pond... sad, but true.

or one can stay in their lodge high in the Chisos basin

 

edj




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