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About 20 people made the rocky journey from Oak Run Road to the secluded Swede Creek Plains Saturday for an evening of stargazing and camping far from the city lights of Redding.
Though the Perseid meteor shower was waning, the group enjoyed occasional shooting stars as they took in clear views of the night skies.
Shasta Land Trust (SLT) hosted the event on Hathaway Ranch as part of its Wildways series of fundraisers. Hathaway Ranch is a privately owned cattle ranch near Oak Run that has been protected by a conservation easement held by Shasta Land Trust since 2006.
The group ranged in age from 5 to retirees, with all enjoying a primitive campground at the eastern edge of the Swede Creek Plains.
Ranch owner Harry Hathaway gave permission for the camp-out, and the event was hosted by SLT Executive Director Ben Miles and Americorps member Alicia Fitzgerald, who has served with SLT since the beginning of the year.
The group shared knowledge of constellations and astronomy, and used educational materials provided by SLT to learn more about the summer constellations.
Sunday morning the group awoke to a clear sunrise in the center of the 6,000 acre protected ranch, and a pancake breakfast prepared by the event’s hosts.
The 3-mile journey from pavement to the camping spot covered picturesque examples of Shasta County’s oak woodlands, and the majority the event’s attendees made their exit Sunday on foot.
After returning to the ranch’s headquarters around 10 a.m., the group broke up to return to their modern lives with only memories of a night far from electrical outlets on the historic landscapes of Hathaway Ranch.
The Shasta Land Trust is a local conservation non-profit that was formed in Shasta County more than 10 years ago. Working only with willing landowners, the organization has successfully conserved more than 15,000 acres of working ranchland in the northstate.
Photos courtesy of The Shasta Land Trust.
Local memberships provide critical support to the organization, and the proceeds of Wildways events, such as the Stargazing Camp-Out on Hathaway Ranch, also help fund the land conservation mission of Shasta Land Trust. The Land Trust office is located at 1918 West St., Redding, CA, and may be reached via mail at P.O. Box 992026, Redding CA 96099, or by telephone at 530.241.7886. For more information visit its website, shastalandtrust.org.