Your host for this event is John Cincotta. Please contact him if you have questions or ask below. You might first want to read the "Must Read This" page as it may answer most of your questions.
Weather Forecast <-- Click
This is a fairly dark site with a few interesting additions. It is Fremont Peak State Park. It's a 13 mile drive up hill from San Juan Bautista which can be an interesting stop on the way up or down. The road is winding, wooded and narrow.
About The Park
There are a few problems as well.
There is a TV transmitter on the top of of the mountain to the south. The tower is Spanish language channel for Santa Cruz area. The shot of the Milky Way was is facing the transmitter shielded by trees. This was 30 seconds at f/3.2 , ISO 2000.
Another interesting feature is that you can see Santa Cruz south past the Moss Landing Power Plant. Interesting after sunset before the fog comes in.
Here is a sunset from there.
Santa Cruz is a handy tool for focusing at infinity.
There is a amateur astronomical observatory there with a 30" scope
This weekend is a public star party there.
As well as a good night to try for the Messier marathon (it is possible to see all Messier objects with a good scope in March new moon). So there may be a lot of people there but most will be gone by midnight.
Note sunset is 6:07pm and moonrise is 6:26am on Sunday
I usually stay all night rather than try and drive 13 miles down the mountain in the dark.
The gps location is[masked]N[masked] W for the observatory.
Lets meet at the parking lot overlooking Santa Cruz that has a couple of pit toilets on the left edge. This is a nice place for sunsets.
This meeting will be moved to April 6th if it is raining in San Juan Bautista at noon on the day of the event.
Camping / Overnight Use
Access fee is $6 for day use (up to one hour after sunset) and an additional* $25 for camping or overnight use. If booked through ReserveAmerica, there is also an $8 reservation fee. Not all campsites are reservable about 4 are first-come first served. The number of cars permitted depends on the campsite selected. Assume that one car per site is the norm. Anyone else must park in the separate parking area. There are about 35 available spaces in the two parking areas, not including at least one area per campsite. Click HERE for a campsite map. There are both tent and RV/Trailer campsites.
*NOTE: ReserveAmerica implies that the campground fee includes admission for one vehicle into the park.
(click map for larger image)
NOTE: The map is labeled incorrectly. Valley View is at the left (west) and offers mostly RV spots and Oak Point is toward the top and has only tent sites.
In retrospect we should have reserved the Doe Creek group area at $100. It permits 50 people and 25 cars.
What About Weather?
The current weather forecast is here: weather.gov Be sure to look at the right date/time!
Forecast as of 3/7 8 am:
Sky cover ~ 12%; Low 40 F; Wind < 9 mph. Humidity < 83%
On "Clear Sky Chart" darker blue = better (except for temperature where darker blue = colder!). This is a "live" chart and changes as the forecast changes.
Questions and Answers:
1. Do I need a camping permit if I stay all night - even if I'm not camping?
Yes. All overnight guests in the park must have camping permits. You can arrange to use the capacity of someone's campsite in discussions below. We recommend that you pay the fee if you drive a car. You are supporting the state park that way and there is no confusion about whether you are legally in the park.
2. But I'll be sleeping in my car, not occupying a campsite!
We don't make the rules, we're just telling you what they are.
3. Can I bring my pet/dog?
To the park, yes - permitted in certain areas on a leash. With the group, no unless you are sure you're willing to pay for the damage an out of control animal may do to equipment, people or the environment.
4. I am on the waiting list, can I attend?
We will mark you as a no-show and bar you from future events if you do.
For even more information about the rules we operated under at BANP see here.
5. I see someone dropped out, can I take their place?
Not unless you are the next person on the waiting list. It's rude to "cut in line".
6. If I have a yes RSVP and I don't show up, then what?
You will be marked a no show and barred from future events. Might even be kicked out of the group if it has been your habit.
7. I was on the waiting list (or I was a Yes), but my RSVP was changed to NO, why!?
Because you have a prior no-show. You can rejoin the waiting list, but we'll keep moving you to the bottom.
8, Do Supporters get any preferential treatment for this event?
Yes. 22 of the 30 people are supporters. Note: if supporters drop out, the numbers may change because whoever is next on the waiting list will take their place.
9. If I indicate how much I want to go, or plead for a spot will that help me get one?
No. Meetup doles out yes RSVPs on a first-come, first served basis. We are glad you are eager, but we assume everyone who is desiring a yes RSVP is eager or they wouldn't be RSVPing. If you are only lukewarm about it, don't RSVP.