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8/23/2009

Pit n Pole Directions

I've wanted to do this for awhile and when I can, I would like to put up a link to some of the dark sites around Salt Lake and take pictures to help others get there. I'm sure some will welcome this and others will curse me but I promise only to do the ones that are already available at the three society sites in Salt Lake and Utah County. I'd just like to see more people observe. Pit n Pole is the first because it is the one I use the most often. Here are the directions from the Utah Valley Astronomical Society (that's where I first saw them) and have modified them. I've added links to pictures but know that you can click on the first link and then click next to go through the album if you don't want to keep clicking links. Just realize I have more pictures there than I posted here.

From I-15 get off at the Lehi exit by the Lehi Roller Mills. That is exit #282 or the UT-73 exit. Go west through Lehi on State Road 73.

Continue west on SR 73 across the Jordan River, straight through the intersection of Redwood Road (1700 W.) by Smith's, up the hill past Eagle Mountain and out to Cedar Fort.

The road will turn south for 5 miles to Fairfield. When you get to Fairfield note the turn off to Camp Floyd but don’t get on it just stay on SR 73. From the Camp Floyd turn off check your mileage and follow the highway around the bend and go 4.7 miles from the Camp Floyd turn off up the hill. If it is dark when you are following these directions, you may not notice it is a long gentle hill.

At 5-mile pass you should see motorcycles and 4-wheelers having a good time (if it's light, in the dark you won’t see anything). There are message boards on both sides and bathrooms. These are the nearest bathrooms to Pit n Pole (sometimes there is a portable near the site). As you top the hill at 5-mile pass you will see the a sign marking the county line between Utah County and Tooele county. The road then slopes down and curves to the North (right). As you approach the hill you'll see two towers on the left; mesonet weather towers and a county line sign; from the county line/sign go 3/10ths of a mile and turn left onto a paved road , right before it you'll see a sign for the Old Pony Express Route, Faust and Vernon.

As you turn onto the road look at your odometer and figure out what it will be in 4.2 miles. Go west for 4.2 - 4.3 miles. On both sides you'll see PR brown Markers that start around 19 or 18 and you'll go until you find PR 3 on the left. You will know that you are almost there when the road turns slightly to the left (about 4 miles) and then there is a small rise in the road. After the rise, the road dips and about 100 yards or so later is another rise. Turn left (South) on the road that takes off at the top of that second rise where the PR 3 sign is. The road is dirt/gravel and is nicely done
Go south 4/10ths of a mile and as the road bends to the right .there will be another dirt road, obscured by sage brush and turn right until you are on this new path, going to the west (right). Take that road west 3/10ths of a mile until you see a pole sticking out of the ground with a pit near by. You have arrived.
The Pit:

Directions are relative. I did not take a compass and estimated them. Here are some links to what the horizons look like. They are pretty good during a cloudless, moonless night.

Looking N to NE:

Looking E:

Looking SE:

Looking SE to S:

Looking SW to W:

Looking W:

Looking W to NW at the Pole:

Partly cloudy today so no observing but it was fun to go out and do this. Hope it helps anyone looking for a semi good dark site. Watch humidity in the fall.

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