After 4 great days in Big Bend with snow, the Milky Way, and fall color, I decided to do something a little different for the way home. My trips to BBNP are usually a cannonball drive west to the park (ten hours), a week in the park, and a cannonball drive home (again ten hours). So I left Big Bend mid-morning on Dec 30th with a plan to explore some areas along the drive and a plan to stay over on the Llano River.
I left the park and started a meandering path from Marathon that took me down several lonely roads as I moved east and north. It was scenic and empty. My kind of road.
Eventually we crossed the Pecos and made our way up to I-10. From there it was a quicker drive late in the day to Junction and the Llano River, getting there just before sunset.
There along the river I was just able to catch a sunset view looking up the river.
There were a few clouds in the sky, but I also hoped there might be a few stars too. So I went about changing over from the daytime landscape set up to the nighttime astro-photography kit.
After it was dark I was able to make out some of the Milky Way in the west and then I was able to make out the fainter ORION arm of the galaxy rising in the east.
I spent a couple of hours taking images until it was time to call it a night and get some sleep.
One thing I did notice is that I no longer had the dark sky of Big Bend. Looking to the east the lights of Austin were lighting up the clouds and it is still over 100 miles away. It would seem like a dark sky spot if you came there from Austin but compared to Big Bend.... it was way too bright.
So these were my last few images from the trip and I would take off in the predawn light on the 31st to be home before lunch. A great trip even if it was a quick trip. It already made me ready to get back to Big Bend in the spring.