Author Topic: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles  (Read 2671 times)

DDK

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Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« on: May 15, 2016, 06:07:55 PM »
We have observing access to the Pinnacles. Good news. Observing access has even gotten more relaxed since this fabulous area became a national park. Go figure.

This is on the west side, coming in from just south of Soledad, off 101. Where we have open access is at the end of the road, at the trailhead under the hoodoos themselves. Those improbable granite spires and towers are worth the trip in the first place.

There is a new visitors center, closer to the entrance to the park, with a sizable parking lot and wider horizons than at the trailhead. Another good choice for setting up.

What I did hear from the rangers themselves is that they’re used to climbers leaving the trailhead lot late. There’s a gate that closes at 8 pm but swings outward when you’re leaving. They have a history of liking stargazers.

Now this being a new site for open observing, we very much want to watch our p’s and q’s. The rangers do not want to find us in the morning there. No camping out overnight. And no fistfights, and be polite to the rangers, and pay the park fees. And no knife fights either, TACos and TAQueritas.

I’ve observed several times on both sides of the Pinnacles, and it can get seriously dark there. You’re in the middle of the Gabilan range (of which Gabilan Peak, also known as Fremont Peak, is the tallest). On the west side there is a small discrete light dome where you can see where the Soledad prison is, but you have to look for it.

Just for an idea of darkness, it was on the east side that I caught my very own two of the Djorgowski globulars, Djorg 2 and 3. On the west side on one visit, I caught SN2013dy, a supernova in a skinny little galaxy in Lacerta, ngc7250, definitely a dark sky hop.

Camping at Pinnacles is on the east side, off of Hwy 25 south of Hollister. There is no road thru the Pinnacles. What we’ve done for starparties is book sites on the far western end of this east side campground on a quieter weekend, to get away from other campsites. Any light domes you see from the east side are the product of imagination.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 01:13:26 AM by DDK »
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Marko

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 09:01:34 PM »
Wow Jamie, way to go.   That is great news.   So to be clear you are saying east of the visitor center in that stretch of what looks like camping on south side of CA 146 or near the larger area by park headquarters that is closer to the 'Pinnacle Rocks' themselves and called 'Bear Gulch' area?   Sounds like a mighty dark sky.   Good new.
Let me roam the deep skies and I'll be content.

DDK

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2016, 01:09:52 AM »
You of all people to be asking for clarification in writing, Marko.
Where we can observe is at the end of road 146. Only one road into the park on the west side. The road ends at the trailhead, in a big parking lot, under the hoodoos. There is no camping on the west side of the Pinnacles.

So yes the second lot in your sentence, "near the larger area by park headquarters that is closer to the Pinnacle Rocks themselves and called Bear Gulch area." Don't know the name Bear Gulch, but you have the spot.
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rljtac

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2016, 06:23:13 PM »
Way cool!  Thanks Jamie.  Missed last night, but I will plan to get out there...

Kai

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2016, 11:23:51 PM »
Thank you for sharing !

 -Kai

DDK

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2016, 01:10:55 AM »
Several good-news Pinnacles updates,
https://www.nps.gov/pinn/planyourvisit/maps.htm

Here the park has a much clearer link to the map, given that I could never find it before.
Marko, you mentioned Bear Gulch, you can see that's on the east side of the park.

On the west side, in May I wasn't sure if it was OK to observe from the lot by the visitors center, just inside the park. It is. And you can in fact see the hoodoos from alongside the center.

So three new bits of information, thankfully no corrections. The trailhead lot under the hoodoos is as good as ever for observing, as of last Saturday night.
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Peter Natscher

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2016, 07:16:42 PM »
Jamie,

Do you plan on being there sometime this Labor Day weekend?

Peter

DDK

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2016, 11:25:15 PM »
Peter, please see OI for tomorrow night. Can't seem to stay away. For the weekend, I really stay away from driving much during Labor Day weekend. Except Saturday, as mentioned, I'm going down to Whiisssper Canyon to help with cleanup.
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Peter Natscher

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2016, 09:05:55 AM »
Planning to be at Pinnacles West Sunday with my 16" JPA telescope.

Peter Natscher

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Re: Gate mojo at the Pinnacles
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2016, 02:42:03 PM »
Canceling my trip to Pinnacles tonight on account of the forecast for high wind.  The north jet stream is over head.