STARGAZE 2019, an astronomy and art adventure in West Texas

May 15-19, 2019 Big Bend National Park

Days: 5   |   Group size: 12 (almost sold out!)   |  Lodging style: Tents (Double occupancy) + Restroom & Solar Showers 

An extraordinary experience at Big Bend National Park.

Enjoy the incredible beauty of the Rio Grande. Majestic mountains, beautiful riverscapes, and stark desert views. Experience the vibrant art culture in the small West Texas town of Marfa, and explore the night sky with experts from the famed McDonald Observatory at an evening star party. If that sounds awesome, it's all in addition to the extraordinary hiking and friendships you'll find along the way. Of course, if you're excited to catch up on some reading or catch a few extra zzzs, that's fine too. Choose as much or as little adventure as you want!

The Location

Chisos Basin Campground, perched high in the rugged Chisos Mountains, is one of the most sought-after campgrounds in Big Bend National Park. At an altitude of 5,400 ft., the campground is surrounded on all sides by tall, rocky cliffs and is conveniently located near some of the park’s most spectacular and popular trails. This campground offers excellent views and mild temperatures. Also found in the Chisos Basin area is the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, the General Store and the Chisos Mountains Lodge, which houses the only restaurant in Big Bend National Park.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Travel to Big Bend National Park + Window View Trail

Enjoy the comfort of premium SUVs as we set out at 8:30a from Austin towards Big Bend National Park. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch (as well as on-the-road snacks) on the way, and arrive at Chisos Basin Campground with enough daylight to set up camp, and take an optional short hike to Window View Trail. Then settle in with new friends for dinner and a relaxing campfire.

Day 2 - Explore Big Bend + Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive + Chihuahuan Desert + Rio Grande

After a hearty breakfast, the park is yours to explore. If self exploration is your thing, grab a buddy and hit the trails. With mountain, desert, and river hikes, Big Bend has everything for your hiking appetite. Want to see the famed Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive? Set out on a driving tour through the park with fantastic views of the Chihuahuan Desert landscape and Rio Grande. There are scenic overlooks and exhibits along the way, and the short walks to Sam Nail Ranch and Homer Wilson Ranch and a visit to the Castolon Historic District will give you a glimpse into Big Bend’s past.

Day 3 - McDonald Observatory + Star Party at Rebecca Gale Telescope Park

Wake up to the small of fresh coffee, and get ready for another exciting day of adventure. This isn’t an ordinary day, however. We’ll begin the day exploring some of the mountain trails, and end the day with a Star Party at the McDonald Observatory. Enjoy night sky constellation tours and views of celestial objects through a number of telescopes (varying in size up to a 24-inch Ritchey–Chrétien telescope) in the Rebecca Gale Telescope Park. It’ll be a late night as we head back to camp and enjoy the glow of the fire, and maybe some more stargazing!

Day 4 - Marfa, Texas + Art Walk + Prada Art Installation by Elmgreen and Dragset

After refueling with your favorite breakfast items, it’s off to Marfa, the famed artsy city of west Texas. We’ll arrive in Marfa around noon for some self-guided exploration after visiting the much-photographed Prada store in the desert (art installation). Then, we’ll meet up in the late afternoon for the trip back to camp. Want to explore more of Big Bend National Park or relax around camp instead of heading to Marfa? That’s A-OK. The trip to Marfa is optional. After a big day of adventuring or relaxing, it’s time for dinner and relaxing by the fire — another epic day in the books.

Day 5 - Final day at Big Bend + Travel to Austin

Wake up will be a little earlier today so we can enjoy breakfast together and break down camp. Then it’s time to pack up and head back towards Austin Texas for an evening arrival (around 8p).

What's Included

  • Three meals a day and snacks
  • Spacious rainproof tent
  • Professionally cleaned sleeping bag + sleeping pad
  • Communal cooking range + all cookware
  • Flashlight for personal safety
  • All camping fees
  • Star Party fees
  • All transportation for the duration of the event
  • Event swag
  • Fire and s’mores supplies
  • Basically… everything!

What’s not included

You’re responsible for getting to and from the pickup point in Austin, TX.

Additional terms and conditions here.

Accommodations

All tickets include rental of everything you need to comfortably tent camp:

  • Coleman Sundome 3 person tents (2 people per tent unless otherwise requested).
  • Sleeping bag, pad, flashlight.
  • Utensils, plates, cups, and other mealware are included.
  • Free tent camping is included with your ticket price.
  • All meals + snacks are included.
  • Lawn games are included

Are there showers and restrooms?

Restrooms are a short walk from the campsite in the main camping area. Solar showers will be made available for use by all campers.

Food

Three meals a day plus snacks will be provided, and we’ll prepare meals together. This is a sample menu, and we try to change up the menu daily.

We’ll do our best to accommodate food preferences regarding vegetarian and allergy needs.

Sample menu

Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Turkey sausage
  • Pancakes or potatoes
  • Coffee / tea

Lunch

  • Cold cut or peanut butter sandwich
  • Fresh fruit and veggies
  • Chips
  • Soda

Dinner

  • Foil packs (hamburger, fresh veggies)
  • Yellow seasoned rice
  • Soda
  • Dessert: S’mores

 

Gear list

Clothing

Shoes

Additional gear

Personal

  • Towel
  • Personal items / toiletries

Food stuff

We’ll provide food, and implements needed to cook it. And, don’t worry, we’ll also have s’mores materials. That’s probably the most important part!

Other stuff

  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Bandanna
  • Camera
  • Charger for phone / camera / etc

Q & A

Who attends?

Attendees are self identifying geeks, people working in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and/or people with geeky hobbies. It’s possible to geek out on just about anything. Don’t get too hung up on the definition. If the event sounds fun, you’re good-natured, and you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll fit right in.

Here’s a sample from attendee registration forms

What people are looking forward to

  • Human connection
  • Decompression
  • New relationships
  • Inspiring conversations
  • Networking
  • Great conversations
  • Bonding
  • Awesome people disconnected from the world

Talents people are bringing to camp

  • Art
  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Watercolours
  • Fire building
  • Accelerant application
  • Fire suppression
  • Juggling
  • Stretching
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Photography
  • Lip sync’ing poorly
  • Improv
  • Drumming

Past attendees from great companies...

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Reviews

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Swaati Bhat

"I would highly recommend camping with Geek Adventures, specially if you are a beginner or first timer. One of the best hosts who is friendly, welcoming and makes sure you don't feel left out. I am glad we chose this event as our first camping in the US. I feel confident and am very keen to explore more camping events in future."

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Chris Carfi

GoDaddy

"Many of us in the technology industry are “in the flow,” seemingly 24/7. It’s critical to to get out from behind our devices, interact with others in actual conversation, and take time to process. With that time to reflect comes creativity and new ideas."

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Brad Williams

Web Dev Studios

"I didn’t know what to expect going to Camp Press. What I promptly learned is that was the entire point of the event—doing the unexpected, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, making new friends, having fun and serious conversations, and doing all of this without the normal technology that is always around us." 

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Becky Davis

Becky Davis Design

"Like most of us, I work from home. Working for yourself has a lot of advantages, but having a chance to chat with real people IRL on a regular basis is not one of them. Sitting around a campfire with real people disconnected from technology sounds very appealing."