The last month, while observing Jupiter and other such brighter objects from my front yard, I turned my attention due East in an effort to locate Mars. I knew it was about the time for the planet to break the Horizon. Thus, with my naked eye I found it clinging low to the edge of the earth. Since then, I have turned two scopes to the planet, my Orion 8" F6 DOB, and my Orion 80MM F7.5 APO. Neither revealed much detail due to the planet's position. Placed that low in the sky, where seeing and transparency are generally terrible, the image broke down as I upped the mag to 200X. I had to settle for a small pinkish dot.
None the less within the next few months Mars should rise to a higher and better observational altitude and at a more decent hour. Perhaps during one of those observing attempts everything will come together and Mars will let me have a good look. That is the allure of Mars; almost everything has to work out for good views. One needs good optics, good sky conditions, and good position in the sky. Finally, if all that works out, the planet itself has to cooperate. There are times when one may have all of those before mentioned points, and the planet will not give up views, as when dust storms obscure the globe. On rare occasions, everything works out and one may get a nice view of surface detail. You probably know this, but it bares repeating, Mars is the only planet on which the amateur may observe surface detail.
Since I started in this hobby December of 2000, I have observed such detail on Mars about two or three times. To realize the extent of my futility, you need to consider how often I have made attempts at the Red planet. That would be many, many times; too difficult to number, but surely a success rate of less then 5 %. Most often I would struggle to get a quick view of one surface point. But, on those few nights when everything works out, well those become legendary nights.
So, I will dutifully take out my scopes, and train them on the red planet with the hope of a "wow" moment. If that fails, well there will be Saturn...