It's time to share my annual church camping photos here. If you are interested in last year's, the post is here.
This year the campsite chosen was SUGARLOAF RIDGE STATE PARK located in Kenwood, CA - which is right in the heart of the beautiful Sonoma Valley wine region. I have never heard of this park until this time. The difference with this trip and the previous camping trips is that there was an observatory inside the park and that we had been also booked for a group tour with the observatory. Exciting isn't it?
So we camped on July 22-24. I had some trepidations because heat up to 100F was expected throughout the weekend. We knew for a fact that one of those days, the heat did reach 100F. I thought that I would skip a hike and just go for a wine tasting on one of those hot days. Well, I did manage to get a hike on a trail that looped about 3-4 miles, I'm not sure, but despite going early in the day the sun was still bearing down on us. It was just HOT. The reward for our hike was all the wild blackberries and cherries we could reach and eat.
My home for the weekend.
The breakfast crew. The structure in the back is the observatory.
And scrambled eggs.
Stopped to pick wild blackberries on both sides of the bridge.
Nearby we spotted a tree full of fruits (cherries).
I love this tree.
Once we got back to the car, we drove straight to town or anywhere nearby where we can have a little wine tasting. Our first stop was at a winery that is beautiful, but charges $20 per tasting. We did not want to pay for tasting; there are free tastings to be had, so we googled it. Likewise, lunch first was on our mind. Don't want to taste with an empty stomach.
About 10 miles away we stopped at El Brinquito, a grocery store that also sells all the Mexican goodies you crave. They have a bbq setup in the parking lot and a lady makes tortillas in front of the store. We all had 2 tacos each ($1.75 per).
We drove about 20 minutes to reach the beautiful Jacuzzi Winery for free tasting. Upon arrival, the tasting rooms (wine and olive oil/balsamic vinegar) were packed, so we chose to explore the building and the grounds. When we returned from our exploration, we saw that we could easily conduct our tasting. We had a flight of 5 wines to taste and in the end the husband and I bought a bottle, while the couple we went with picked up two.
Awesome no-frills tacos.
Back in the campgrounds, while the cooks grilled chicken, the kids played pickup soccer and the adults chatted lazily. It was still hot. At night, we had a wonderful, fascinating, and educational tour at the ROBERT FERGUSON OBSERVATORY. They gave us a brief lecture on Astronomy 101 and were available for questions. We looked through two telescopes and got to see stars, clusters, nebula and Saturn with its rings, and many more. It would be my first time to see through a telescope and get a lecture from those who know about these things. We were able to see the Milky Way through the naked eyes. Unfortunately, there were no photos taken during all these. I was so engrossed that I did not think about photography.
We were told that we were the first church group to book a night sky class of sort and that we seem to be a fun, diverse group.
Since this was a church camping, we had to have a service on Sunday.
And we don't leave without a group shot.
By the way, on Saturday night, the moon rose behind the hill somewhere around the 10-11 pm and it was so beautiful.
Another summer, another camping trip in the books.
SKYWATCH is a weekly gathering of sky lovers and sky watchers. Join us.