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Big Bend NP tips?

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#1 xonefs

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 06:18 AM

I’m headed there today on the way as the first stop on a long road trip. Can’t say I’ve done much of any research on it and where to go inside the park for astro lovers. Camping reservations seems unavilable on short notice so i’ll prob just stay up all night somewhere.

My main interests are landscape astrophotography (milkyway, star trails, deep-scapes) and also normal deep sky imaging. I will have my big scope/mount and also tripods/small trackers.

So what are the best locations I can set up a scope in a parking lot and not be bothered? That are also around good vistas for landscape astro? I like both equally so the challenge is usually finding a place to first set up a scope, but thats nearby good locations for the landscape stuff where I can keep an eye on it and move around while it’s doing its thing. I know there may be some nights I won’t do both so also curious about good landscape astro spots at night

Edited by xonefs, 03 May 2021 - 06:21 AM.


#2 siriusandthepup

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 07:40 AM

I like staying at Rio Grande Village campground. They have a concession/convenience store there. The "A" campground area has concrete block restrooms. "B" has porta potties. They also have an RV hookup area next to the store. Stay in "A" if you are tent camping.

 

The concession store has coin operated showers - bring a roll of quarters. The nature trail there is great. Campground is a short drive to several scenic attractions.

 

There is an especially dark observing spot at the asphalt parking lot of the Rio Grande Village park headquarters. It will be deserted at night. Only a few miles from camp.

 

Other folks might recommend the Basin campground - harder to get in there, but its pretty up in the mountains. No store there, but they do have a lodge - not usually easy to reserve a room there at the last minute - but you might get lucky. <edit> Lodge is currently closed due to a recent fire in the area.

 

Big Bend is a four or five trip (4 days each) area, before you even consider taking any off paved road excursions. Don't do it on your first trip! You can't expect to even scratch the surface on your first trip. Just be comfortable and soak it in.

 

Get a full tank of gas in Marathon before you drive into the park. Its about 100 miles from Marathon to Rio Grande Village (56 miles from park entrance to Rio Grande Village).

 

You can get some gas before you drive out at the main park headquarters (about 40 miles from Rio Grande Village). Do not run out of gas. Don't think AAA will save you in the park. That is the only spot you can get fuel in the entire park. You have been warned!

 

Good luck. Big Bend is one of my favorite camping areas in USA.

 

Good luck!


Edited by siriusandthepup, 03 May 2021 - 07:48 AM.


#3 edwincjones

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 07:46 AM

check the temps-can get hot, very hot

 

edj



#4 xonefs

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 09:44 AM

Other folks might recommend the Basin campground - harder to get in there, but its pretty up in the mountains. No store there, but they do have a lodge - not usually easy to reserve a room there at the last minute - but you might get lucky. <edit> Lodge is currently closed due to a recent fire in the area.

Big Bend is a four or five trip (4 days each) area, before you even consider taking any off paved road excursions. Don't do it on your first trip! You can't expect to even scratch the surface on your first trip. Just be comfortable and soak it in.

...!

Went and called and got a room at the chisos mountains lodge for a few nights. Spending a little more than usual since it seemed lucky to get a room and harder to get a camping reservation now- camping looks booked so I would otherwise have to stay outside the park probably.

Im sure ill figure it out when im there but also open to good locstions in that area to set up.

Thanks for the other advice- gas, got it. Yeah I dont plan to go off road.

Edited by xonefs, 03 May 2021 - 09:47 AM.


#5 PeterAB

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 01:10 PM

If you are  not freaked out by arachnids and enjoy all the natural sciences,  bring a UV scorpion light.   Very cool stuff out at night.    If you are freaked out, please forget my suggestion.

 

Peter


Edited by PeterAB, 04 May 2021 - 01:57 PM.


#6 siriusandthepup

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 02:07 PM

 

Went and called and got a room at the chisos mountains lodge for a few nights. Spending a little more than usual since it seemed lucky to get a room and harder to get a camping reservation now- camping looks booked so I would otherwise have to stay outside the park probably.

Lucky!! Grats!

 

Just an FYI for all - there are no normal campground reservations.

 

"A" campgrounds have "designated" campsites, but are first come first serve. I always pick a site close to the concrete block restrooms. Also, the nature trail originates in the "A" camp area. My favorite place to go after dark. We walk up a trail (about 1/2 mile) to an overlook that looks down on the Rio Grande river. No lights. Beautiful! I know it's heresy, but a Moon up makes it better. OK - we'll make it a crescent moon before 1st quarter so that it sets early and leaves dark skies. lol

 

"B" campground area does not have specific campsites - open area with occasional porta-potties.

 

Enjoy your Big Bend adventure. I recommend that you hike the Lost Mine trail if you are up to it. It is near the lodge. Allow about 4 hours round trip. Bring plenty of water and snacks for lunch to eat at the top of the trail. Take your time - good elevation rise from start to end. It will work you, but so worth it.


Edited by siriusandthepup, 04 May 2021 - 02:12 PM.


#7 MEE

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 03:26 PM

See this thread: https://www.cloudyni...n-the-milky-way

Big Bend would be a good place for that, especially if the transparency is good

#8 Migwan

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 10:16 PM

The lodge?  Beats the heck out of tent, in my opinion.  There's a parking lot for the amphitheater across from the entrance to the camp ground that should be dark if nothing is scheduled.   Other than that, it's the campground, as far as I can remember.   

 

Lots of short historical hikes around the park.  Enjoy.

 

Oh, there's some trails around the lodge that would do for grab and go.


Edited by Migwan, 04 May 2021 - 10:21 PM.


#9 xonefs

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 03:57 AM

Loving big bend so far, got a campsite for two nights after my lodge stay.

Did first night up from the top with just my small tracker, then a night with everything down off the road looking towards the chisos, then the next from a different spot looking that way.

Now that I have a campsite I set up my scope right here since I have a good view NW and E/SE. it would be pretty great except I’m finding up in the basin has its own weather and can get clouds that form up here at night, where I’m guessing it would be clear down below and suspect it is just above the mountains.

1-2 more nights here but could spend longer if I wasnt headed to NM

#10 siriusandthepup

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 07:43 AM

Any particular place in New Mexico?




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