The second stop on my fall tour was Wildcat Mountain State Park. I lost time trying to select a camping site and didn’t get much hiking in here, and instead of cranking out the mileage I did the short Observation Point Trail and watched the sun slowly fall beneath the horizon.
Due to lack of sunlight hours on fall days I gave up on the idea of hiking altogether and decided to relax, drink whiskey, and watch the stars. Weather was perfect and sky charts show good darkness readings (download the iCSC app on iOS, its perfect for this).
I recently added an Eken H9R action camera to my photo kit. Played around with timelapse mode in camp watching daylight fade to black. More videos to come in the future.
These photos are from campsite 106. I tried using the bonfire and my tent light as a foreground source which worked fairly well, but my neighbor’s fire at site 104 provided not only a perfect soft light but allowed some of the foliage colors to show through in the dark. Sadly, I could see the galactic core with my naked eye (faintly) but it didn’t align with my campsite and rotated out of camera view sometime around 10pm. You can see the Big Dipper centered on the horizon in the last two shots.
As mentioned, decisions had to be made and whiskey + stargazing won the day. Only trail was the short Observation Point Trail along the ridge. At some future point I will definitely revisit this park and hike more. Park rangers said the overlooks on the horse paths are quite good.Lat = 43.7018776 , Long = -90.5707321 -- Show at Google Maps