For me, Friends of the Inyo’s Dark Desert Skies Campout (May 20-22) was just as much about all we can see under Daytime Desert Skies!
By Kayla Browne, Desert Lands Organizer
Friends of the Inyo had a wonderful group of friends come out to learn more about dark skies and the beauty of Conglomerate Mesa and Centennial Flat over our three-day Dark Desert Skies Campout event that began with an educational evening at the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine.
On Friday evening, May 20, we premiered “Island in the Sky,” a short film produced by Patagonia about Conglomerate Mesa, mining threats to it, and why its protection is important. We also showed a film produced by our friends at Great Basin Resource Watch and Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada called “Tainted Thirst,” a short documentary about the ongoing water struggles small communities in the Nevada desert are facing due to gold mining in the area, as well as a film titled “Saving the Dark,” about the importance of dark skies. After the films, we enjoyed a pizza party and great conversations.
On Sunday morning, May 22, most of the group headed to Centennial Flat for a hike up Black Rock Canyon to try to find Black Spring, one of the few water sources in the area available to wildlife. While we were unable to find the main Black Spring, we were successful in locating a small puddle of water above ground down the canyon from the Black Spring map spot. Along the hike, we enjoyed the sight of beautiful desert plants in full bloom and Joshua Tree fruits up close. We finished the trip with a rolling tour through the middle of Centennial Flat to enjoy the density of the Joshua Tree forest.
It was a great adventure with old and new friends discovering what makes the desert landscape of the Eastern Sierra so special – at night AND in the day.
We can’t wait for the next Dark Desert Skies Campout Weekend in September! Check back later in the summer for announcements at friendsoftheinyo.org/events.