I thought, "This feels just like a national or state campground full of people." There were way too many smokers though, for it to be a park crowd. It was a clear night, and perfect for a star party, except for the full moon. But, I got some great moonrise shots, right over the observatory.
I drove up early, around four-o’clock, and had my dinner right here, so I wouldn't punk out. I thought about my preference for my bed over...well, just about anything, but especially the unknown. So, I made a plan and wouldn't let myself do it.
I've been really excited about this moment ever since I heard about the observatory. I just had to push on through my fear. So here I sit at 7,027 feet above sea level, waiting for the announcement and directions to the amphitheater. Soon. Soon! And I can sleep later.
I love the stars. Been aching to really see stars for many years now. Just one more part of the natural world city dwellers give up, but that I grew up with. I took for granted the generous dome of sky that hung over Jamaica Bay. How many summer nights I lay on my back picking out the big and little dippers. During the meteor showers, my friends and I would count the falling stars. Early evenings in our winter sky, I’d always locate Orion, by his belt, and Sirius, the dog star.
I arrived over at the amphitheater to find it already packed. There must have been five hundred people there. So, I grabbed a primo seat on the outer boundary wall, and set an example for any others who were crowd-o-phobic, as I am. Then, I needed to put on my hat and my hoodie. It quickly became quite chilly up there.
Over the last few days, I’ve had tiny black dots sort of flipping through my vision—from the altitude, I guess. I may find my visit to Farmington, New Mexico easier this trip, right after my stay in the Davis Mountains.
The Ranger took us through all the constellations in the sky, and he answered my main question: was my Starwalk app crazy to show me so many constellations at once? No. Not at all. You can see half or more of the zodiac constellations and a host of others at the same time in the unobstructed sky. Especially if your vantage point is like this—on top of a mountain, in the middle of nowhere. It was just a lovely night, and well worth the eleven-mile-drive back down off the mountain in the pitch dark!