Last month, the Land Trust held its annual Wantrup Preserve Stargazing hike under a spectacular starry sky and Lands Program Assistant Erin Erickson brought back a few photos to share.

Hike leaders Mike Johnson and Andy Hoffman, along with other volunteers, brought out several telescopes for attendees to use, including a large Newtonian telescope (nicknamed “Cyclops”) hand built by Michael McKeown of

Those who planned on camping overnight set up their tents on arrival before the BBQ grill fired up and dinner started.

After dinner, volunteers spoke to the group about the night sky, telescope use and tips for optimal viewing.

Once it became fully dark, Saturn provided the best view with attendees either chatting under the old oak or gathering around the telescopes throughout the evening.

“The best part, for me, was being at the preserve so late and so early,” said Lands Program Assistant Erin Erickson. “Just seeing the huge trees in a different light. The sunset. It was all gorgeous.”