From our Other Members...
Late Winter Trip to Berlin-Icthyosaur State Park
- Category: Other Members
- Created on Friday, 06 April 2012 18:25
Late in February, I, for the 1st time, drove to this little park near Gabbs, NV. Andy Dierenga had tipped me in on a couple of camp spots there that are ideal (yes ideal) for astronomy, and I left with some apprehension as to what I might find. It is a fairly long drive…about the same length as that to Adin, California, but the reward is sharp stars and zero light pollution.
I took Clifford, the Labrador and budding dog-astronomer, to campsite #13; we were the only inhabitants of the park, except for the park ranger, that week. The campground is RV and pet friendly, well maintained, and fully equipped with guided tours and talks (during the summer), drinking water, trash receptacles, and restrooms. The location affords fairly short walks to nearby peaks and the Ichthyosaur fossil enclosure, and a short drive brings you to Berlin, a mining town of the beginning of the 20th century. A DSLR astrophotographer, I lucked out to go here at this time of the year because sensor ‘noise’ decreases with temperature, and the ambient temperature ranged from 40-50 at night and 60-65F during the day during this trip.
The daylight hours provide scenery and opportunities of very good quality. This quintessential civilization free area…..a quirky Nevada treasure that seems to be disappearing as quickly as dark skies….provides hiking opportunities that are a lot of bang for the buck. The fossil enclosure, too, is located at the end of a short, well-maintained park trail, and a walk there also takes one through the campground, where one could enter into a friendly conversation with fellow campers, perhaps. A trip for supplies requires a 30 minute drive to Gabbs, NV. Along the way, stop by the ghost town of Berlin, located at the park entrance, where the exhibits are of very good quality, but leash your pets as there are rattlesnakes around. It is hard to believe that the pioneer lifestyle existed here as recently as 80 years ago, and the park facilities still run on ‘green’ technology such as solar.
The most interesting fact I learned during my stay was where this park was located back when the Ichthyosaur reptile bones shown at the fossil enclosure were laid down. It is a secret I’ll keep to myself, as surprising and shocking as it is, but a weekend trip down to this beautiful park will give you this information. It is worth the trip!