Days of Nights

in search of dark skies

Author: johnwarrensimpson (Page 1 of 16)

Yavapai County AZ.

towards Sedona

Humphrey’s Peak

Jerome

Verde Canyon Railroad. Clarkdale

Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot facing north

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Well National Monument

Wet Beaver Creek. Montezuma Well National Monument

After visiting these three ancient dwelling sites I feel a much deeper connection with the landscapes, both terrestrial and celestial. When I set up a new camp I try to determine true north and identify prominent features of the horizon. If Polaris is visible at night then I can adjust my intuitive daytime guessing. My morning yoga routine is done facing north. If I am going to be stargazing in my lounge chair I try to have it facing south. Sources of light pollution force me to adapt. From this site even with light glow from Phoenix I was able to see stars down a magnitude of 5.3, the Milky Way, Praesepe, and Coma Berenices. For the first time in many years I have been able to witness the brightening of the variable red star Mira in the constellation Cetus. An added treat is Jupiter and Mars rising before sunrise, followed by a thin crescent moon, and Saturn and Mercury. Very nice.

There is record of human habitation in the Verde Valley for 13,000 years. The so-called Sin Agua people who built these stone dwellings apparently migrated from the south 1500 t0 2000 years ago. They farmed along the rivers growing corn, squash beans, and cotton. They were excellent weavers and pottery makers. They abruptly left the area about 600 years ago for unknown reasons most likely to higher elevations to the northeast. The people who claim to be their descendants say they will some day return.

The People of the Verde Valley now are the Yavapai and the Apache.

Seligman AZ. Route 66.

Cottonwood Cove. Lake Mead National Recreation Area NV.

Gold Butte National Monument. Clark County NV.

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. Lincoln County NV.

Pioche NV

Pioche NV

Miller’s Point, Cathedral Gorge

Caliente NV

 

Buckhorn Summit. Hwy 93.

Las Vegas NV.

I overlooked posting this 4-day visit to Las Vegas, the week before Christmas. Primarily to attend the Duel in the Desert women’s basketball tournament at UNLV. Besides the host Lady Rebels, Oregon (ranked 10), Mississippi State (7), Syracuse (23), Texas A&M, and the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine. Six games in three days for $15.00. Not at the Thomas & Mack but next door at the Cox Pavillion. Also an opportunity to take care of some business. Stayed at the Sam’s Town KOA with full hookups for $24 a night.

Valley of Fire State Park. Clark County NV.

Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Clark County NV.

Lee Canyon. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.

Back into the pinyon forest. This time at 7300 ft./ 2220 m. Lee Canyon Road in the northern part of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. The first night the temperature fell to 16 F./ -9 C. High temperatures in the 40’s/ 7 C. Two thing to do here. Check out Mary Jane Falls by Mt. Charleston and to see if the Desert Wildlife Refuge on the other side of Hwy 95 has suitable sites for truck and trailer. It’s all good. Aspen and Ponderosa pine on the other side of the mountain. No trees on the desert floor. The area to the west of the NWR is the Nevada Test Site where atomic bombs were tested from 1952 to 1964.

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