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Astrophotography at Valley View

We skipped going to Valley View for New Year's, and it's a good thing we did since that was only a few weeks after Katie broke her ankle. Instead, we made plans to go in early May when the weather would be a little better and we could go over a weekend when the Eta Aquariids meteor shower was peaking with little to no moon. Along with the meteor shower I planned to do some astrophotography. Of the two nights we were there, only one of them looked good from a cloud coverage standpoint, so at midnight on the night we arrived I woke up and hiked 2 miles to the bat cave. There were other places I could have done astrophotography, but that was the easiest place that I could get up high. After an hour hike, I made it to the caves a little after 1 am where I stayed for about 2 hours before I needed to leave to get warmed up. If it was a little warmer or if there was a little less wind I probably could have stayed until sunrise which would have produced some better photos of the foreground, however, the position of the Milky Way wasn't great the later the night went on.

During the day between soaking in the hot springs I went on a nature walk. I explored a new trail and saw some incredible wildlife, everything from squirrels, snakes, insects, and birds.

The evening was mostly cloudy but that didn't stop me from trying to do some more astrophotography. I found an old firetruck that I wanted to make my primary subject and tried to light up with an external light source to make the photos more interesting. The light ended up being too harsh, no matter how quickly I tried to light it up, and the stars in the background weren't that great with the cloud coverage. With rain forecasted all night after midnight, I called it an evening at 10 am and woke up at midnight to a completely overcast sky. I didn't bother setting another alarm to wake up in the morning before sunrise to try again. I woke up in the morning to perfectly clear blue skies and was disappointed I didn't set an alarm in the 3 am hour.

Trailhead Location
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6.36 mi 5.4 hrs 9,383 ft 1,296 ft
View Graphs
Milky Way
Friendly Squirrel
Western Tanager
Lower Top Pond
Garter Snake
Valley View Ridgeline
Turn at the Skull Cairn
Meadow Pond
Fire Truck