Hanging Rock to celebrate summer solstice, starlight, sunrise

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The astronomical clock at Hanging Rock near Redfield will serve as the wild heart of the Summer Solstice, Stars and Sleep Out event June 21-22 by the Dallas County Conservation Board.


On June 21, a number of wild invitations converge for you from the Dallas County Conservation Board. This date marks the Summer Solstice, the longest day of our year and the beginning of summer, so the organization is hosting a special event at the Hanging Rock Conservation Area near Redfield.

If you have never joined us to watch the sunset on Summer Solstice Rock at the stone astronomical clock at Hanging Rock, then now is your chance. Consider joining us at our clock at 8 p.m. to learn its story and to celebrate the solstice. Our clock is a restoration of an original instillation, created by First Nations stargazers.

If you are in for a deep dive into a wild experience, then take advantage of a one-night-only exception to the no-camping regulation at Hanging Rock, and come early at 7 p.m. to set up your tent for our Solstice, Stars and Sleep Out event.

Following the solstice sunset observation, we will hike into the Hanging Rock bottoms to marvel at the lightning bug show and call for owls. You are welcome to attend this, even if you aren’t camping out overnight.

Upon our return to the ridge, following our hike, everyone is invited to stay up for star gazing. If you are a Solstice Camper, we will then settle in for the night around a campfire. If the sleep out is not your thing, it’s off for home for you.

Solstice campers will be treated at 5:40 a.m. with the post-solstice sunrise. This viewing will again take place from the stone astronomical clock. Following this observation, the Hanging Rock Solstice Sleep Out camp will break down, as you pack up and head home.

Please consider joining us for the entire wild trifecta that is the Summer Solstice, Stars and Sleep Out. If not the entire wild experience, then script an experience that fits your wilds.

Pre-registration is required for this special event. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Come for any part or the entire program. Participants are responsible for providing their own tent and camping gear. This program is a one-time variance to the no -amping regulation at Hanging Rock.

For more information visit the Dallas County Conservation Board website, or register at 515-465-3577 or conservation@dallascountyiowa.gov.

Ken Keffer is the outreach coordinator for the Dallas County Conservation Board.

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