Experiencing the Dark Skies of Texas
The stars. I think I share a common experience with many people who grew up in an urban or suburban environment. You manage to learn about Orion and his belt, the Big Dipper and its little companion, and of course the North Star. You have a chance to see them on occasion on a perfectly clear night or maybe you remember seeing them from the edge of town. Years and years go by and the stars never have an impact on your daily (or I guess nightly) life, but at some point, if you were anything like me, you ended up out west. Maybe you made it out to a state park in the Hill Country, or you got invited to a friend’s ranch with a few miles between you and the city, but if you were really lucky you found yourself in the Davis Mountains or Big Bend during a new moon. You probably didn’t realize what was about to happen (I definitely didn’t), but you can vividly remember that very distinct moment where you looked up at the night sky and saw it for the first time, the Milky Way Galaxy.
This moment happened for me the first time I traveled to the Davis Mountains State Park in Ft. Davis with my dad and brother when I finished High School. We set up camp, had some dinner, and before we knew it, it was completely dark. I walked out from under a tree and I was overtaken by sky. There was a complete blanket of stars but I could still make out a dense band in the very middle. I didn’t need an astronomer to tell me that I was seeing the Milky Way Galaxy. I just knew it the moment I saw it.
Now, as a Stewardship Director for TLC, I’m fortunate to travel out west at least once a year to monitor the properties we protect out there, and I get to experience that moment over and over again… Read more from the Texas Land Conservancy