Story by Joanna Santana Photos by Zahn Schultz
Imagine this: Meeting the person who just might be the one... and taking them out to Dollar Beers. (Yeah, please don't.) Imagine instead: asking them to a sunset picnic and choosing the perfect location around Ellensburg in which to sit and look at the stars; now that is a date. While buying them a drink that won't hurt your wallet might sound enticing, rest assured that PULSE may have just found a better solution to your college-dating budget.
Xen Cruspero, a senior majoring in business administration, says, “Personally, I like to look up in case of shooting stars and I always hope to see one I could make a wish on.” For some people, stargazing is a nice escape.
“You kind of get out of your own world for a minute,"
says Maggie Novy, a junior majoring in secondary mathematic education. “With the [light] pollution on the west side, you can’t see as much as you can see here.”
Similarly, Sanjeet Singh, a freshman biology major, says, “I like to stargaze because I feel like I am looking up into another world when I look up at the stars. It is easy to forget how big it is up there.” PULSE traveled in and around Ellensburg to find some of the best spots for admiring the sky.
#1: Craigs Hill
Optimal for: People with half a tank of gas, waiting to get paid next week. (You’re not alone.)
Pros: Super close to campus
Cons: Privacy is limited
Craig’s Hill is known to most CWU students as “The Water Tower Hill.” Odds are you have definitely been there or have seen it as you drive by. This location is optimal if you aren’t wanting to drive too far out of town and want some familiarity in your surroundings. This location lacks privacy, though, as it is a popular destination. It also doesn't have any big open area for blankets to lay on grass, so you may want to stay in your car or back into a parking spot and open up the tailgate if you have a truck.
#2: Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park
Optimal for: People with a little bit more gas, maybe ¾ of a tank.
Pros: Room to choose where you lay
Cons: It may get crowded as it gets warmer
Irene Reinhart is also very popular among CWU students--it's also known as People’s Pond. This location gets very popular as the temperatures begin to rise. So, the con to watch out for is definitely the crowds you could catch if you go at the wrong time. However, this location can be good if you want more variety to find the perfect patch of grass to lay your blanket on. Another pro is that while you are still in Ellensburg, you get a better view of the night sky as the stars are a lot more visible the more you drive away from city lights.
#3: Vantage, Wash.
Optimal for: People with all the gas
Pros: The night sky is LIT up
Cons: 26 miles from CWU campus
While Vantage is further from campus than the other spots, it may be well worth the drive. If you head out at the right time, you can catch the view of the sun setting over the windmill farm. This location is also optimal for privacy and gives you more than one place to choose from to lay down and look up. Even more, many say the stars shine brighter the further away you get from the city's lights. If you ever find yourself out of ideas for a simple but memorable date, stargazing could be the way to go. Ellensburg is surrounded by many locations for you to set out a blanket and enjoy a clear night sky.