Monday, December 30, 2019

Boondocking at the Buenos Aires NWR and Uraling to Kitt Peak Observatory

Set up camp yesterday at one of the dispersed camping sites along Highgate Road within the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

The wildlife concept must be working, I startled a large jack rabbit as I scouted for likely camping sites; the damn thing was the size of a medium sized dog!

Found the site that Uma, the URRV would fit in, barely, and set up camp under clear and sunny skies, it even felt warm!

 I can view Baboquivari Peak from my campsite,
it pretty much dominates the whole valley

This morning's sunrise was pretty good:

 Baboquivari Peak at dawn

 Kitt Peak Observatory's telescope structures
are visible from camp

After breakfast and once things had warmed up into the low 40s, I geared up warmly and motored out of the refuge on Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with the '84 Beemer Engine.  It was, according to google maps, 53 miles to the Kitt Peak Observatory and I wanted to check out the views from that height.

The ride there was "brisk", I could barely feel my finger tips when I finally got to the road that leads up Kitt Peak and could slow down a bit from highway speeds. 

As I climbed up the peak road, 12 miles of it, I was reminded how atmospheric conditions in Arizona can produce nice blue shades of distant mountains and hills:

 showing the road known as AZ 386 which leads to 
Kitt Peak Observatory

Soon after the above picture, I entered the snow line and found snow steadily accumulating along the side of the road.  There was plenty of snow and ice on the observatory grounds too.

The place was "open" for visitors but not the gift shop where tickets to stuff where sold.  Oh well, I doubted there was much activity going on for visitors, heck with the cloud cover, was pretty sure there wasn't much astronomical observation going on either!

 Looks very avant-garde the solar observatory, it was actually built
in the late 50s!

I parked Fiona and walked in to get a closer look at some of the telescopes:

 The east side of Baboquivari Peak

 Artwork on the side of the visitors center

 Mayan symbols for Astronomy?

Another set of blues from the scenic overlook on the way back down

Made it back to Robles Junction aka Three points, where AZ 86 and AZ 286 junction and gassed up along with picking up  a replacement thermometer system for the URRV.  The outside probe on the old system had given up the ghost.  The new system measures barometric pressure as well, we'll see how it works out.


RichardM said...

Kitt Peak Observatory, one of the places I’ve wanted to visit since I was a kid. I remember read about the solar telescope in 3rd grade...

redlegsrides said...

Seems like a neat place to visit RichardM, though astronomy isn’t a large interest of mine.

SonjaM said...

Baboquivari Peak looks very prominent and photogenic. With temps in the low 40 I can imagine that your ride might have been a bit on the brisk side.

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, the peak begs to be photographed....and yeah the temperatures were sub-optimal but the ride was good.