Dark Sky 50

The Dark Sky 50 ultramarathon is generally held the first weekend in May in and around the Big South Fork park. The race traditionally begins at Pickett State Park and runs through the Big South Fork park along hiking and equestrian trails. We were asked by the race coordinators and the National Park Service if we could help provide communications support since cell phones did not work at most of the aid stations. Our first event was in 2017 which really tested our skills as radio operators under actual field conditions.

We generally staff Pickett State Park as our communications center where our net control resides.  The runners pass our first aid station which is Divide Road on their way to Long Branch. We do not staff the Long Branch aid station due to the remoteness of it. As the runners turn south they head down to Station Camp which is along the river on the John Muir trail. This is a hike in aid station for us as well as Charit Creek which is the next stop on the course. From Charit Creek it is less than 3 miles up to Gobblers Knob which the runners start to arrive around noon. The next aid station is less than 3 miles which is Rock Creek. This is also a cut off location for the runners who will not finish in the allotted time.


  1. Aid Station 1: Picket State Park (Mile 2.7)

  2. Aid Station 2: Rock Creek 1 (Mile 8.9) No radio staffing until later as the runners return past here.

  3. Aid Station 3: Divide Road (Mile 13.6) This is our first aid station where radio communications will be provided.

  4. Aid Station 4: Longbranch Trail (Mile 21.3) It would be nice to be able to cover this location with a team of radio operators but due to remoteness we have not.

  5. Aid Station 5: Station Camp (Mile 27.1) This is a radio location that requires hiking in.

  6. Aid Station 6: Charit Creek Lodge 1 (Mile 31.1) This is a radio location that requires hiking in.

  7. Aid Station 7: Charit Creek Lodge 2 (Mile 35)

  8. Aid Station 8: Gobbler’s Knob (Mile 37.8) This location may be serviced with a mobile unit.

  9. Aid Station 9: Rock Creek 2 (Mile 40.6) This location may be serviced with a mobile unit.

  10. Aid Station 10: Thompson Overlook (Mile 44.8) Not staffed by radio operators.