The last weekend of the season is always bittersweet — I look forward to getting my weekends back (I’m sure several of you anxious for Boomtown Craze‘s release are glad I’ll have more time to write), yet I know I’ll miss Pine Mountain. I don’t care for the short days of winter, and we have eight months off. Most of that will be winter. Winter is coming is as appropriate a saying for Central Oregon as it is for the Starks in Game of Thrones.
Friday was very cloudy. Gary, Eric, and I spent our last evening of astronomizing together for the season. We all started at PMO five years ago and for the past three years have been the only volunteers, besides our fearless leader, Kent, keeping the program running. I’ll miss hanging with them every weekend as much as the mountain itself.
Only a handful of visitors came by Friday night. So we were done by 8:30. We sat and jawed for awhile under the Moon.
Saturday had one of the clearest views we’ve had for awhile here in Central Oregon. The wind shifted, taking most of the smoke with it.
Jim was my fellow star guide Saturday night, a great addition to our volunteer staff. Not only knowledgeable and fun to talk to, but he does some awesome astrophotography. Gary, Eric, and I sure hope he returns for the 2013 season.
Since Eric was off, I ran the 24″ telescope Saturday night. There was some muck in the sky, but it wasn’t so bad. Of course, the Moon was the biggest obstacle to viewing. I looked at it, Andromeda, M11, M13, and the blue snowball nebula through the 24. Our twelve guests went home, we packed it in, and said good-bye to the 2012 season.
I always have mixed feelings about the last weekend — happy to have all that time back, but well aware I will miss the mountain and the starry skies. And I will miss all the fun I have with my fellow volunteers. We share a passion, we teach each other, and laugh a lot.
Bonus, the temperatures were quite warm. Never put on my winter coat this weekend. How was your weekend?