The Mountain Star

One of the things I love about the month of December is the star on the mountain above the city of Fruit Heights. It’s a 60′ x 60′ star made of light fixtures attached to rebar poles cemented in the ground. It’s lit each year (53 years in a row now!) the day after Thanksgiving through the month of December. The power is provided by a gas-powered generator; the city adds 5 gallons of gas each night and lets it run until the gas is exhausted.

The generator for the star reminds me of visiting my cousin Seth at sheep camp many years ago (long before Natalie entered the picture!). Every day he’d make the rounds to the various watering holes scattered through the lonely landscape east of Ruby Valley, NV, fill up the gas-powered water pumps with fuel, get them running, the move on. During the winter, he often had to work some magic to get the frozen machines operating again, including removing frozen blockages from fuel lines. The lucky guy would suck on the fuel line to provide some suction, moving the blockage. If he wasn’t good, he’d get fuel in his mouth. Sounds like he was practicing for a David Blaine illusion.

I’ve ridden my bike on the mountain trail directly below the star. Despite its size, it’s difficult to pick out on the mountain. It’s a bit of a vertical hike up to the star from the trail and if you’re not looking for it in the right spot, you’ll miss it. I wanted to capture a picture of it this season before the new year turned; I captured this one on New Year’s Eve. We were in the midst of a strong inversion, so it was a murky night. But at least I have it documented with my own camera.

This star lights the night each night between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

This star lights the mountain each night between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

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