Rich Richins forwarded me your email concerning the Cosmic Campground. I drove out there from Las Cruces on Saturday, May 23rd and spent two nights. It was during the 1st quarter moon, so I only intended to check out the site and do some visual observing. I got a late start out of Las Cruces at about 5:15. I intended to stop for gas in Silver City, but ended up pressing on as I wanted to reach the site before dark. I arrived about 8:30 and was pretty much sucking fumes in my truck!! The drive was uneventful and easy. I did have some deer cross the road in front of me before getting to Glenwood, so had to slow down and be alert. The directions from the website were perfect, and the site was easy to find even at dusk.
My dog Buster enjoyed exploring the area, and tried to make friends with the locals (cows!!). Late in the evening I could hear an elk bugle. I was very impressed with the site and facilities. The restrooms were nice and very clean. The horizon was beautiful and not blocked in any way by local features. Even with the bright moon in the sky, it was evident that the sky was very dark. Once the moon set, the milky way was well above the horizon and looked fantastic. The seeing was not the best that night, but the transparency was very good. There was some light traffic on NM180 during the night, but the site is well off the road and headlights were not a problem.
The next day Buster and I went to Alma and got gas. I bit more expensive than Silver City, but understandable given the location. I received a 10-cent per gallon discount for paying cash which is good to know. I also picked up a few snacks at the little store. I then took a trip up to Mogollon for some site-seeing. Buster enjoyed walking through the cool water in the stream. Then we headed up the road 50 miles to Bill Evans lake. Given it was Memorial Day weekend, there were a lot of people at the lake. During another visit I’ll be bringing my fishing gear!
The weather got cloudy, and windy on Sunday, but the ClearSkyChart indicated that the sky would clear after 1am, which it did. My friend Jerry showed up on Sunday and spent the night with his camper and scope. I had a solid 4G signal on my Verizon phone which sure was nice. We packed up Monday morning to head back to Las Cruces. It appears that there eventually will be an RV dump which would be great. But given the toilets provided, there was no need for anything but my grey water tank.
All in all, I’m very impressed with the site and will be going back this weekend (12-14 June) to do some imaging. I expect that I will make 2-4 trips there a year depending on the weather during new-moon weekends.
Please add me as a Friend of The Cosmic Campground. This is a fantastic resource for NM astronomers and I intend to promote it when I can. I made a presentation to the Astronomical Society of Las Cruces at our last meeting about my site survey. I showed lots of pictures, one which I have included below. Feel free to use the text of this email and/or picture on your website if you like.
Las Cruces, NM
Astronomical Society of Las Cruces