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Adirondacks Perseids Meteor Watching Trip

July 14th, 2010 · No Comments · Personal

I’ve been contemplating this for some time now and have finally researched out all the nitty gritty details to come up with an actual plan. The idea is to get out to some of the darkest sky in the entire northeastern region and experience a meteor shower like never before. This is similar to my trip out to the country-side of Canada to view the Leonids last year, but will be even more spectacular if the weather cooperates. My sky watching experience in Canada took me to skies twice as dark as my home area – this trip will take me to skies twice as dark as that.

The Perseids Meteor Shower

This meteor shower is one of the most reliable showers of the year. Other showers wax and wane or are just small to begin with but the Perseids are fairly consistent in their numbers, which can be as many as 50-80 meteors per hour during peak (which is when this trip is scheduled or course!). Too, these meteors tend to be very bright and long-lasting as they skim our atmosphere. I last wrote about this shower back in 2008 when I started blogging about my sky watches. I missed it last year due to bad weather.

This year, while no predictions have yet been made, it’s already looking good thanks to the fact that the moon sets shortly after the sun, meaning the skies will be as dark as possible by the time Perseus rises fully over the northeastern horizon just after midnight.

Destination: Wakely Mountain

Wakely Mountain is a 3,700 foot peak in the wild country of the Adirondack State Park. It includes a 3-mile hike to the summit, which is capped with a fire tower offering 360 views of the surrounding wilderness. Unfortunately, the fire tower wouldn’t be safe to climb at night, so we will have to find an area around the summit that offers us views of the horizon to the northeast. The hike is categorized as moderate to difficult thanks to a relatively steep ascent in the last mile of the trail to reach the summit.

This summit was chosen because it lies within a region of darkness classified as a 2 on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale. Yea, that is pretty freaking dark!

You can download and overlay the regional dark-sky chart in Google Earth if you’d like to see the area we’ll be hiking in.

Travel Plans


The trip will embark on Wednesday around 10am. With stops for lunch/gas along the way and a travel time of around 6 hours, we should hit the base of the trail somewhere between 4-5pm. That will give us around 3-4 hours to hike the 3-mile trail to the summit and find a place to camp before sunset at around 8pm. The drive to Wakely will be a scenic one. We’ll be traveling on 3 scenic routes: The Taconic State Parkway, Rt. 10 and Indian Lake. Hence the 4hr normal drive along major arteries is extended to around 6. After we make camp and settle in, we can enjoy the first night of meteor watching as the peak begins the morning of the 12th.


Whenever people wake up (depending on when you go to sleep – the shower lasts until dawn) there are miles upon miles of wild countryside surrounding the peak that can be explored during the daytime. Once night falls again, the second night of the shower peak will arrive.


We’ll break camp as soon as everyone is awake and ready, and hike it back down to the parking lot to pick up our cars and head home. The trip will take around 5 hours – we’ll be sticking to major arteries almost the entire way home, but to get out of the park we’ll be driving down another scenic route to get to the nearest interstate. We’ll most likely be arriving back in the Lincroft area sometime in the early evening.

Here is the full route plan.

Weather Considerations

It should of course be noted that cloudy skies will not make for a great meteor watching experience. Granted, seeing the meteors is a very integral part of this trip, but there’s also the driving, hiking and camping to consider. Unless inclement weather is forecasted, or enough people going decide not to if seeing the meteor shower will be impossible due to sky conditions, the trip will be on regardless of cloud cover.

RSVP via Facebook

If you can make it, or think you can make it, RSVP on my Facebook event page. Or if you’re not on Facebook just send me an email to let me know.

Reference Links

For my planning use:

Wakely Mountain Clear Sky Chart
NOAA Weather Service Wakely Mountain Area
Adirondack Trail Conditions
Adirondack Backcountry Regulations

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