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Campfire and Stars

Atlanta
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Campfire and Stars

I have had a near life-long dream of going out west to sit around a fire and camp under the open sky. I live in a big city and have never seen a gazillion stars. I'm looking for tranquility and do not need other activities (which would only add to the expense). Would prefer to be around a river or stream, as the sound of running water really does "soothe the soul." Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced place to stay or tour operator? Thanks - any and all suggestions are sincerely appreciated.

East Gippsland
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1. Re: Campfire and Stars

Looks like not too many people appreciate a gazillion stars.

consider a trip to Central Autralia. Lots of astronomers do exactly that for clear atmosphere to gaze in the quietness.

This year University of Western Australia Extension are having an expedition with astromoner on board to do just that. They will certainly be camping under the stars with the firelight. Why not join them. Landscope Expeditions organises them..

Colorado Western...
Destination Expert
for Ouray, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Montrose
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2. Re: Campfire and Stars

Lots of western US National Parks would offer beautiful campgrounds and dark skies. You said "camp" under the open sky, so I'm assuming you really do mean "camp" rather than stay in a hotel.

My favorite for really dark conditions and frequently clear (cloudless) skies at night is Great Sand Dunes National Park:

greatsanddunes.info/…WhatsSoSpecial

If you go in late spring through early summer, Medano Creek is often flowing along the base of the Dunes. It's a very interesting creek that sometimes disappears into the sand only to re-emerge several miles downstream. It also has a "surge flow" -- kind of like little waves -- which many people have never seen elsewhere.

The campground at Great Sand Dunes is quite pretty, and camping there is very inexpensive.

Atlanta
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3. Re: Campfire and Stars

Thanks - I went to this site and it was very interesting. Exactly the type of trip I would like to make, and well worth considering.

western WA
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4. Re: Campfire and Stars

If you really want to see stars, you need to get up on a mountaintop, above the tree line.

I'd suggest backpacking in the North Cascades or in the Beartooth mountains on the Hell Roaring Plateau between Cooke City and Red Lodge.

Another excellent place to go would be the High Desert near Oregon. If you stay in Sun River, they have a unique observatory so you can learn a little about the stars sunrivernaturecenter.org/html/observatory.ht…

There is a lot to do up there that is natural and not expensive. Every night you could enjoy the light of stars. The main river is the Deschutes, which offers both white water and flatter water river rides. You can back country camp, rent a cabin in the local state park, or stay in luxury in SunRiver.

You don't really need a tour operator -- just get a friend or two to join you for companionship, and throw a post up on TripAdvisor Oregon forum (or any other state which appeals). They'll set you right up!

You don't want a fire on days you are seriously stargazing, by the way, as it affects your night vision.

Cary, North Carolina
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385 posts
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5. Re: Campfire and Stars

Hi

If you are looking for tranguility, quiteness and a trillion stars you have to go to a desert. There are no better paces. Firstly there are few people, little life, and low humidity which is why you can see many stars. In the Namib Desert, Namibia for example you can see 360 degress around you, all flat with no light pollution. Australia would also be a good place.

Werner

Eko Tracks

Aubrey, Texas
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6. Re: Campfire and Stars

I enjoy camping in the West. My favorite campgrounds are in Yellowstone and Grand Canyon. You can find good campsites with shade to get into during the afternoon, but still be able to see the "gazillion" stars at night. Sounds of running water are usually absent, though the Madison Campground in Yellowstone is on a river.

One place that comes to mind is the campground at Lees Ferry near Page, AZ, in the Glen Canyon National Rec Area. It sits above a noisy rapid on the Colorado River. There are few trees around to obstruct the views of the night sky. It can be windy. I don't believe open fires are allowed, however grills are provided.

Camping fees are quite reasonable in national and state parks and recreation areas.

chicago
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7. Re: Campfire and Stars

Infinity -

You don't need a tour operator for that. I will help you with any possible trip suggestions on Tripadvisor. This is pretty easy. The only really difficuly thing is to get proper gear. If you want to "sleep under the stars" and camp, forget staying at lodges.

So, you want to swee stars. Head west to the Rockies or the desert, away from major population centers. This usually means national parks, national forests or BLM lands.

Also,you mentioned a stream so that eliminates the desert. IMHO I think a trip to the nothern Rockies is right up your alley, either Grand Teton, Yellowstone or Glacier. Now, you don't have to stay in these areas. And in fact, the campgroudns in the national forests bordering these parks are far more quiet.

Check out the campgrounds of Glacier and Yellowstone to get an idea of what you want:

parkcamper.com/Glacier-National-Park/Glacier…

Go in late summer for warmer day time temps, and thinning crowds. Go in mid summer for bright greens. Go in the fall for the color, cooler temps and light crowds. As for gear, get a decent one man tent ($130 or so), for a sumer bag, a $90 synthetic rated at 30 degreees should work. For fall, I recommend a 3 season down bag rated for 20 degrees from a reputable maker(around $170). A cheap camp stove is $20, propane is $3 a can. A pan can be had for $5, etc. You don;t need to bring a lot of clothes either. Most important is wool hat, baseball cap, gloves, pair of long underwear, light hiking pants, sunscreen, and layers. Pick up some bug spray too. Campgrounds are the cheapest palce to stay at and IMHO the least hassle.

western WA
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8. Re: Campfire and Stars

Good advice on the camping gear. Camping isn't complicated!

New Zealand
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9. Re: Campfire and Stars

Yeah nice post.Great info.

I spent 2 weeks in the Namib Desert, Namibia, camping.Sleeping on the ground, no tents under the clearest of skies, the brilliance of a Milky Way that was unbelievable, and blazing orange sunsets.

Going back in 3 months.

In our South Island , Te Anau will become a nightsky Heritage sight.Restrictions will be emplaced for any development so as to minimize light pollution.All for this very reason discussed here, so that visitors can observe our nightime heavens with no light pollution.Wonderful to see people becoming aware of this.

Chiang Khong...
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10. Re: Campfire and Stars

HI

check out the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho

Just north of Sun Valley

I used to camp out at Stanely lake with my son

at night with a clear ski and no moon you can see the satellite's crossing the sky. it is so bright with just the star light you don't need flashlight.

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