Lake Easton State Park Overnight Camping and Stargazing

Last month I had the perfect opportunity to explore astrophotography with the Perseids meteor shower and clear skies in the forecast.  Since the peak of the meteor shower was on a Thursday night, my husband was unable to join me.  There was no way I was going to let the ideal conditions pass me by, so I headed out on my first ever solo camping trip!

After looking at a map of the surrounding light pollution, I decided to head east over Snoqualmie Pass.  I loaded the car up with my tent and other car camping essentials, along with my camera and tripod.  I arrived at Lake Easton State Park in the late afternoon, hoping to find a camping spot near the lake for wide open views of the nights’ sky.  I explored the park and learned that the campground was located on the opposite side of the park from the day use area along the shores of Lake Easton.  Knowing this, I explained my goals of exploring astrophotography that night to the park ranger at the entrance booth, and he assured me campers were allowed in day use area at night.

I quickly set up camp, ate dinner, and headed to the lake with my camera gear.  With over two hours until sunset, I spent the evening reading a book about astrophotography and exploring the settings on my camera.  As I was positioning my camera for the best view, I enjoyed photographing the lake as the sun was setting.  Just as the first stars started to come into view, a park ranger arrived informing everyone that the day use area was closing for the night.  I explained my goals for the night, but unfortunately, the park ranger I spoke to earlier in the day was unaware of the rules and I was forced to leave.  Thankfully the park ranger suggested an area nearby in the National Forest with a large field along a forest service road.

Sunset

Sunset over Lake Easton, Lake Easton State Park, WA

IMG_0983

Sunset over Lake Easton, Lake Easton State Park, WA

Solo car camping was one thing, but solo night photography along a dark, unfamiliar forest road was another.  I followed the directions given to me by the park ranger, and parked in a large field as described.  I’m not going to lie – it was quite an eerie feeling to be completely alone in the dark in an unknown area.  Once I had my camera set up and started taking pictures, the feeling of being scared was washed away by the feeling of excitement.  Once the first meteor streaked across the nights’ sky, all of my fears were completely forgotten.

IMG_1092

Perseid meteor shower, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1156

Perseid meteor shower, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1241

Perseid meteor shower, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1257

Perseid meteor shower, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1122

Milky Way Galaxy, National Forest near Easton, WA

Milky Way

Milky Way Galaxy, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1127

Airplane and Milky Way Galaxy, National Forest near Easton, WA

Airplane

Airplane flying over the nights’ sky, National Forest near Easton, WA

Airplane

Airplane flying over the nights’ sky, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1151

Moon setting behind the clouds, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1175

Moon setting behind the clouds, National Forest near Easton, WA

IMG_1209

Moon setting behind the clouds, National Forest near Easton, WA

I saw more meteors that night than I have in my entire life!  The Perseids put on quite a show giving me the perfect opportunity to learn more about astrophotography.  I took pictures until the battery in my camera died.  It was well into the early morning before I finally loaded my gear back into the car and headed to the campground.  As I laid in my tent that night, the sounds of a train echoed off the lake.  I slept perfectly that night, no longer letting the idea of camping on my own scare me.  I knew this was the beginning of many new solo adventures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s