Tag Archives: california

This Weekend, Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park​ ​Hosts the Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​

By Minah Ha

From​ ​November​ ​10th-12th,​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park​ ​will​ ​be​ ​partnering​ ​with​ ​the National​ ​Park​ ​Service​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​star​ ​enthusiasts​ ​the​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​third annual​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​ ​that​ ​the​ ​park​ ​has​ ​hosted​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​want​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​under​ ​a​ ​sky​ ​full​ ​of stars.Although​ ​this​ ​event​ ​is​ ​free​ ​of​ ​charge,​ ​if​ ​you​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​come​ ​on​ ​November​ ​10th,​ ​you​ ​will have​ ​to​ ​pay​ ​a​ ​park​ ​entrance​ ​fee​ ​of​ ​$30.​ ​However,​ ​because​ ​of​ ​Veteran’s​ ​Day​ ​weekend,​ ​there​ ​will be​ ​no​ ​park​ ​entrance​ ​fee​ ​on​ ​November​ ​11th​ ​and​ ​12th! Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park,​ ​located​ ​three​ ​hours​ ​away​ ​from​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​​ ​is​ ​known​ ​for​ ​its​ ​unique​ ​Joshua​ ​trees​ ​and​ ​desert​ ​flowers​ ​in​ ​the​ ​day​ ​to​ ​it’s​ ​breathtaking​ ​desert stars​ ​in​ ​the​ ​night.​ ​Because​ ​the​ ​park​ ​itself​ ​is​ ​located​ ​far​ ​from​ ​big​ ​cities,​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​urban​ ​lights allows​ ​stars​ ​to​ ​be​ ​clearly​ ​seen.​ ​Thus,​ ​star​ ​enthusiasts​ ​in​ ​Southern​ ​California​ ​flock​ ​to​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree to​ ​stargaze​ ​and​ ​explore​ ​the​ ​many​ ​constellations​ ​that​ ​they​ ​can’t​ ​see​ ​in​ ​their​ ​own​ ​urban environments​ ​due​ ​to​ ​light​ ​pollution.​ ​Many​ ​describe​ ​the​ ​desert​ ​stars​ ​in​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​as​ ​millions​ ​of specks​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​and​ ​when​ ​sitting​ ​under​ ​it,​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​help​ ​but​ ​to​ ​think​ ​about​ ​the​ ​vastness​ ​of​ ​the universe.

Beginning​ ​at​ ​5am,​ ​the​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​ ​will​ ​showcase​ ​various​ ​astronomy​ ​programs throughout​ ​the​ ​day.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​the​ ​different​ ​constellational​ ​stories​ ​and​ ​folktales​ ​that have​ ​been​ ​passed​ ​down​ ​through​ ​storytellers​ ​and​ ​identify​ ​those​ ​stars​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sky.​ ​There​ ​will​ ​be​ ​park rangers,​ ​scientists,​ ​and​ ​astronomers​ ​explaining​ ​the​ ​various​ ​workings​ ​of​ ​our​ ​solar​ ​system​ ​to​ ​all those​ ​who​ ​want​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​the ​science​ ​behind​ ​our​ ​stars​ ​as​ ​well!​ ​Additionally,​ ​at​ ​night, telescopes​ ​will​ ​be​ ​placed​ ​for​ ​viewers​ ​to​ ​get​ ​a​ ​clearer​ ​look​ ​at​ ​the​ ​stars​ ​and​ ​possibly​ ​the​ ​different planets!​ ​If​ ​the​ ​weather​ ​permits,​ ​you​ ​also​ ​might​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​clearly​ ​see​ ​the​ ​Milky​ ​Way​ ​as well!

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Easing the Restlessness

By Matt Keibler

“Do you want to go to the Grand Canyon to see the sunrise?”

Now, I am one for adventure. Hiking Mt. Baldy, snorkeling on the Atlantic shelf, walking alone through a Moroccan market, traversing the hills of Scotland through sleet storms – I have no trouble with getting outside. The real issue is getting friends to go with me. Happiness is only real when shared, no?

So, when I asked my dear friend Rachel to spend her one day off on one of the last weeks of Summer 2015 to drive seven hours across the Arizona desert in the middle of the night for a few dawn hours on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I was nervous that she would say no. After all, this was the last thing on my summer bucket list before senior year. Who knows where we would both be next year? I warned her. It would be an exhausting task. We would need coffee and Clif bars and maybe some 90s throwbacks to get us through the night. And I knew that she was the only one crazy enough to say yes to this.

And she did.

“Great. Go take a nap. We leave at 9:30pm. Sun rises at 6:37am.”

She did not realize the immediacy of my question and yet, she took it in stride. Within a few hours, we were packed, caffeinated, and midway to Barstow, where we would leave the traditional route to Las Vegas, instead opting for the 40 freeway and another 4 hours of desert. Musically, we had moved through The Great Boy Bands of the 90s, and into 90s alternative rock. Blink-182 was a better vibe for a midnight drive through the California desert anyways.

Now, I am a boy from Florida, and I thought I knew heat. Summer nights are a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a light breeze, if you’re lucky. My best memories are sitting on the beach after midnight in the late summer, watching the lightning from a far off storm illuminate the ocean. The flash of blue mirrors itself on the water, and for a split second, you can see the beach around you. Sometimes you could see a boat far, far in the distance. Most of the time, you saw the horizon of blueish black meet the stars. But only for a second. In that consuming darkness, you are left with nothing to do but sit down and bask in its awe.

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Road Trippin’ Down the PCH

By Greg Lennon

After studying at USC for over a year and a half, I have exhausted almost all of Los Angeles’ tourist attractions.  I’ve hiked the Hollywood Sign, journeyed to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and been to Santa Monica Beach countless times.  This spring, after buying a new car, I thought I would take my new ride on an inaugural road trip.  The long weekend at the start of the semester was the perfect time.  So I rounded up a few friends, rolled down the top on my brand new (to me) Ford Mustang, and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway for the weekend.

greg - pch4The Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, is one of California’s most storied routes, offering some of the most beautiful views the state has to offer.  The highway runs along the California coast from its southernmost tip in Orange County, all the way to Mendocino County in Northern California.  Along the way, drivers can stop for gorgeous views of the California coastline, as well as various famed attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

My friends and I started up the PCH late in the day on a Friday afternoon, so we were able to see the classic Malibu sunset as we sped up the highway.  Stopping in Malibu for dinner, we sampled an apparently world famous pizza parlor, then returned to the highway for what would be a long drive.  A couple hours later we arrived in Santa Barbara to fill up on gas and grab a snack.  Santa Barbara is known for its nightlife in the college town neighborhood of Isla Vista, as well as its storied downtown, where we stopped to rest.  After a quick fill up, we returned to the highway en route to our final destination of Big Sur.  As night fell on the PCH, the road grew extremely foggy, making the turns of the twisting highway that much more perilous.  Around midnight, we arrived at our campsite at Big Sur, directly adjacent to a small river, and surrounded on all sides by redwood forest.

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