In exchange for the aborted photo session, I enjoyed a full night of sleep and awoke recharged and ready to further explore the area. After last night’s efforts, I recognized a few more things I am in need of: AA batteries (of course), a blanket or tarp, and a stool, adjustable, for help while guiding the telescope at awkward positions. I also needed to fix the too-tight declination gear on my telescope mount. I noticed that there was dust on my digital camera sensor; I needed something to blow it off. These are things I should be able to accomplish during the daytime hours while doing reconnaissance for my next nighttime excursion.
I headed north, back toward Monument Valley, this time looking for viewpoints with north-facing vistas, but all the interesting compositions seem to be east of north. I continued, past the visitor center and campground, and then past the iconic bluffs into Utah.
Here I found Gooseneck State Park, a flat empty span at the top of a huge canyon of the San Juan river, which made meandering oxbow cuts into the mesa. In the distance, the monuments I had left behind were visible on the horizon.
At this pleasant site, I set up my telescope and mount and performed the fine-tuning needed to correct the misalignments from the bruises and bumps during travel. I also corrected a guide mirror which I discovered I had installed backward. I aimed the telescope at the distant monuments. In this view they looked like Stonehenge.
The forecast was not encouraging, and on the way back I saw the buildup of clouds. Still, the scenery was spectacular, and at sunset there was a momentary break in the clouds that allowed a nice silhouette.