Dark Sky

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Great Basin national park is in the middle of nowhere. Driving towards the park on highway 50 (dubbed The Loneliest Road in America) was quite an experience. It’s easy to become wrapped up in the separateness of it all. Isolation, but not loneliness, seemed to mark the surrounding countryside. I cruised along happily, towing Clarence the MyPod behind me while trying to find a radio station. I passed only one other vehicle in the span of an hour and then rolled into Baker, NV: population 50.

This tiny town sits outside one of the least visited national parks in the U.S. It’s no wonder, considering how off the beaten path it is. Yet being so far removed has its benefits. Less crowds? Yep. More “alone time” with nature? Check. An incredibly beautiful night sky that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before? Oh yeah.

The Dark Sky Association is an organization that focuses on preserving a valuable resource that many of us don’t realize is endangered: the night sky. Light pollution is growing at rapid rates, and many of the children being born this year will never see the Milky Way. Because it has no city-light contamination, Great Basin boasts some of the best starry skies in America. On a cloudless night, there is sparkling beauty as far as the eye can see.

As most photographers know, it’s extremely difficult to get good shots of stars. Do a Google image search of “Great Basin national park night sky” and let your world be rocked! And next time you get a chance, go outside and appreciate the sky. Even if you’re unable to see many stars, take a moment to derive as much aesthetic pleasure from this invaluable resource as possible.

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5 thoughts on “Dark Sky

  1. Hi Stephanie! Any view of Northern lights? Just saw a presentation of these this morning. I’m really enjoying your blog. You are one brave lady! God bless you!

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  2. One of my most favourite things to do is to allow my eyes to adjust to the night as I gaze into the blackness of the sky. One by one stars appear as my eyes become accustomed to the absence of light. This place you are describing sounds like a piece of heaven.

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  3. Stephanie,

    I thought you might enjoy this poem I wrote a coupe of years ago:

    Camping at Hatteras

    Camping at Hatteras
    Awakened at night
    By the guttural cry
    Of a feral cat in heat

    After chasing them off
    My attention jerked upward
    By a shooting star, then another
    Brighter than the first

    Too late for the Persieds
    Must have been a coincidence
    To get me to look up
    After my eyes adjusted, I saw the stars

    An unconscious sigh escaped my lips
    Undimmed by human light
    Every star that has ever shone
    Burned silver white holes in the void black sky

    I was the focus of this vast writhing dome
    The Milky Way splayed in a brilliant stripe
    From one horizon to the next
    Flat delineated clouds scattered at her center

    Earlier by my waning campfire
    I’d watched the sapphic half-moon flirting with Venus
    But only after the moon had set
    Could the stars fire the sky with this breath

    Too many stars to pick out the constellations
    Where was Orion,
    My only friend who survives in the city
    Was that Cassiopeia or maybe Draco?

    I had mapped this trip to the last detail
    Wrote and rewrote my list of supplies
    Methodically crossed them off one by one
    Memorized every route that lead me here

    Everything had gone exactly as planned
    I was a lord among the dunes
    Now I shall have to reorient myself
    Within a somewhat larger sphere

    Damn feral cats

    -Stewart S.

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