I just bought my first telescope ( Orion skyquest XT8, as in 8 inch) and am looking for a good location to use it. At the moment I am thinking Saddleback Mountain, near black star canyon. It's pretty dark there if I recall, and I know of a good spot where the trail plateaus leaving a nice large, flat area with dark skies to stargaze. It only takes 15 minutes to get to this spot from the start of the trail. The only reason I am hesitant is because I would most likely be going solo, meaning I will be constantly imagining scenarios of me battling a mountain lion. Also, I will be lugging a rather beastly telescope uphill for 15 minutes, but it's really the mountain lions that concern me. If you know of any other spots with clear skies, please let me know.
Also, if you have any advice for first time telescope users, I am all ears.