If you haven’t seen those photos floating around on Facebook and other social media sites, there was supposed to be a meteor shower last night (and the night before, and probably continuing tomorrow night as well). Armed with some vague time frames gleaned from a weather website, a group of friends and I hauled in some gear to my parents’ house up at around 2000 feet above sea level. It was a great excuse to escape the ebb and flow of city noise and light pollution and a nice way to spend a cool spring night away from the world.
Unfortunately we didn’t see many meteors. The moon decided it would be a great night to shine extra bright, which washed out the night sky. Where usually tens of thousands of stars are visible from my parents’ house, we saw about as many as you would expect to see in the city. Fortunately, the weather was perfect and the food was abundant, and no one really missed the absence of a few streaking stars.
We set up a campfire in a cleared out arena on my folks’ property and roasted hotdogs and corn over the fire. There was plenty of alcohol and yet, as is our usual, we barely drank. We ate homemade marshmallows courtesy of my creative friend and homemade cookies courtesy of me and this amazing blog here. If you’re a fan of baked goods, Sally’s blog is really a must-read.
From what I had gathered the shower was supposed to peak at about 3:00am. We couldn’t stay awake much past midnight. I’m beginning to think our days of staying up until dawn are slowly rolling out behind us the older we get. Not even mid twenties yet and I already feel old sometimes!
After the cookout we tromped back up the hill and crashed in the house until the butt-crack of dawn, when I, my friend, and her boyfriend hiked off into the hills to go birdwatching. My folks own a 40+ acre parcel of woodland wedged between a steep hill and a creek, so their property is very rugged and makes for a difficult hike in and out. So we cheated. We crossed the creek and hiked along an old overgrown dirt road on the adjacent parcel.
You’d think that on a cool, sunny morning in late spring the birds would be everywhere. We could hear tons of them, but saw maybe only 10. I have to admit I am rubbish with binoculars. Half the time I have them set to the wrong focus to begin with and am sighting 100 yards past the dang bird, and the other half of the time I just can’t find the bird to begin with! By the time I get everything adjusted correctly, locate the bird with my eyes, and drag the binoculars around the area, the bird is gone. Hold still, bird, I’m spying on you!
The mosquitoes were out in force and they made a lovely early morning snack of me and my allergies flared up and left me puffy-eyed and snot-nosed. I was actually a bit glad to call it and hike back to the house. But man, the scenery this time of year is gorgeous. Green grass, wildflowers…I will be so sad when summer comes and everything around Fresno gets brown and brittle.
So even without the spectacle of a meteor shower, we had a lot of fun. Some day I will figure out how to take decent pictures, and show you the sights I get to see in my own backyard.