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Mt. Wilson
Photograph: Michael Juliano

A love letter to Mount Wilson

A gushing missive to the San Gabriel Mountains’ radio-tower–topped peak

By Michael Juliano

Dear Mount Wilson,

I’m writing this letter as I stare at you through my bedroom window (it’s not as creepy as it sounds, I swear). When the sun catches one of your solar telescopes, I’d like to think you’re winking back at me. It’s a glance that stays with me, but maybe that’s just the sun burning my retinas.

It’s hard to read your mood sometimes, though. I’ll look up from the flats below and not be able to see your face through the cloud cover. So I start the climb up Angeles Crest Highway, through patches of fog and past motorists hoarding piles of snow on their windshield (your neighbors are weird).


The north side of Mount Wilson–Red Box Road
Photograph: Michael Juliano


As I make the turn toward your 5,700-foot summit, your roads show a rebellious streak: They precariously hug your precipice in defiance of gravity and safety. But I’d like to think we trust each other: I keep my car on the road, and you keep your cobbled-together retaining walls from plummeting into the valley below.

Life is different up there with you, the air crisp and clear. I want to shout my love from this mountaintop, but it would break the silence, save for the faint humming of the radio towers (you might want to see a doctor).


Mount Wilson Observatory
Photograph: Courtesy Dave Jurasevich/Mt. Wilson Observatory


Your observatory’s awe-inspiring 100-inch telescope was once the world’s largest (size doesn’t matter, it’s how you use it). Gazing through that glass, Edwin Hubble looked beyond the Milky Way. And then you have a trio of solar telescopes (I worry about you staring at the sun).

Speaking of, you’re the perfect partner for watching a sunset. Your cloud-topping height buys us a few extra minutes of daylight as we watch the sun dip beneath the marine layer and over the ocean.


The view from Mount Wilson
Photograph: Michael Juliano


You’re particularly lovely this time of year. Thin patches of snow stick to your shaded backside as your sun-kissed face soaks up the warmth. I relish our alone time among the sparse winter crowds—after all, when the Cosmic Cafe closes for the season, there are fewer wieners around.

All my love,



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