Fremont Peak Closed

1998 Feb 15

I drove to Fremont Peak on the evening of Sunday, 15 February, seeking to take advantage of the clear sky during the several hours after sunset and before moonrise, but found a "closed for restoration" notice over the park sign at the bottom of the access road. I decided to respect the sign, but since I was already in San Juan Bautista, I drove up the road to the Park boundary, just to see what was what. There was some water in the low-lying places where you would expect flooding, but nothing that was any problem for my very small car (Geo Metro). More rain would no doubt rapidly make things worse. There were several places where dirt had washed out onto the road, but nothing that resembled a real slide.

Half a mile or so from the Park boundary, there were pieces of a large fallen tree by the roadside, sawed into chunks. Just about at the boundary itself was a stop sign, some orange highway cones, and another, larger "park closed" notice.

I turned around and drove back to the broad turnout about a mile and a half down the road. I parked there for an hour or so, and looked at this and that with my 10x50 binocular, but I decided not to set up any more equipment -- I had brought the Intes 6-inch -- since the night was very dewy, and lots of moisture in the air extending well above the Peak reduced sky transparency and made the light pollution greater than usual.

We will need to track the status of the Peak very carefully -- we are all very used to being able to go there any time we want to observe. Without the regular availability of the Peak during evening hours, where else can we go for reasonable close-in dark-sky observing on short notice? Perhaps it will be only regularly scheduled star parties for a while...

Jay Reynolds Freeman; 1998 Feb 16