[AZ-Observing] Re: Does anyone go to Fredrickson's Meadow?
- From: Michael Collins <cal_donley@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2018 08:12:32 -0700
On 08/12/18 22:49, Travis Whitlow wrote:
So it seems the options during summer are slim to none.
Observing during the summer months in Arizona, particularly if you're
based in the Valley (and especially if you work a Monday through Friday
schedule) is something of a challenge. Throughout the afternoon/evening
cloud season, the odds of a clear night with decent seeing are fairly
low. Forecasts don't seem to be very good more than a day or two out, so
when there is an opportunity to observe you have to be able to react
quickly. If you're in the Valley, this means load and go on short notice
or stay close to home and endure the heat. It's my impression that most
people take a couple of months off through the summer storm season.
The appeal of Stoneman Lake appears to be nearby dispersed camping
where people can park at 6700' for an extended period at minimal expense
in a dark sky area. The difficulty associated with reaching that area
keeps if from being overrun with casual visitors and their lights. If
you're there for a while, you may get a clear night with good observing
When it was accessible, the so-called Cherry Road site was often used
in the summer time by people from Phoenix. To my knowledge, it was
probably the best option from the west side near 5000', situated only a
few miles from I-17 and south of the Verde Valley. That site is
evidently not viable any longer and I've not seen any reports of other
good options along AZ 169. Just north of 169, I-17 descends toward Camp
Verde so you lose the advantage of altitude until you climb back out
after crossing the river. A few miles before you reach Stoneman Lake
Road, you can exit I-17 and go south on FR 618 to the Bell Trail
Overflow Parking Lot. This is easily accessible in any vehicle, but it's
at only 5000'. Paul Lind wrote a detailed assessment of this site last
year, reporting that it would probably be a good option early in the
March - mid-May time frame for observers from the Phoenix area. If you
go farther north, there are good options around Flagstaff, but not
necessarily better chances for clear summer skies.
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