October 11, 2012

31 Trips In Cali, Day 10: Palomar Observatory & State Park

Alternate title for this post: Life Before Blogging. I spent a long time today yesterday going through the photo archives, looking for our shots documenting our visit to Palomar Observatory and Palomar State Park.

In the end, this is all I had of the observatory itself:

I was so surprised to find that our one & only visit here was seven years ago, in September of 2005. Tucker was only 10 months old! (And my husband still looks exactly the same, with a little more silver in his hair.)  Hence my "Life Before Blogging" comment. I didn't take the same kind of photos I do now, with the blog in mind. (And that is a good thing: reading blogs, and writing my own, has made me hone in on the smaller details worth sharing.)

Palomar Observatory, high up on Palomar Mountain at 5,600 feet, is pretty close to us as the crow flies.  In fact, I can see a sliver of the mountain range to the south of me from my upstairs windows. And we can see the little white spot that is the observatory whenever we're on the freeway, heading south towards home. 

Back in 2005, we visited the area on a  little Sunday day trip. I seem to recall that we got a bit of a late start, and weren't able to spend very much time checking out all the cool things inside the dome. The observatory is open to the public nearly every day, until 4 p.m.  (They don't offer guided tours.)

Palomar is very much a working observatory. It's owned by Cal Tech and JPL and houses the Hale telescope, which was the world's largest reflecting telescope before 1976.  And no, as the website states, the public is not allowed to go up and look through any of the telescopes.

After we walked around looking at the observatory, we drove down the road a bit to Palomar State Park. The area is a popular camping destination, but like the Salton Sea, was one of the state parks on the short list for closure earlier this year, because of our state budget.  

We didn't stay here long. It was early fall. The air felt crisp and I'd baked some cookies to share.  Looking at these photos makes me miss the mountains. Seven years is too long to have stayed away from this cool destination that's only a Sunday drive away, especially when my children are now so interested in science and astronomy.  We should return here, stat. I'll even bake some more cookies. 
Thanks for coming along! Come back for Day 11 of my 31 Trips in California series, when we'll climb the streets of the City by the Bay. 

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