If you decide to fly in a day early, you're invited to join the LOC for one of three guided excursions on a (hopefully) beautiful Sunday afternoon. Excursions will depart from the parking lot at the Lowell Visitor Center promptly at noon, and we will aim to return by about 5:00 p.m. Transportation will be available, though you may drive your own vehicle if you wish. If you want to explore one of the many other sights (e.g., Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Walnut Canyon, Sycamore Canyon), we'll provide an area attractions guide with your meeting materials.
If you would like to go on one of the excursions, please check the appropriate button on the registration form when you register. There is no cost to go on the excursions except gas if you choose to drive yourself, and a $5.00 park fee if you choose Option 1.
Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments
Summary: ~1 mile paved/gravel paths at each monument
The lumpy topography around Flagstaff is volcanic. The most recent eruption was just 800 years ago, and caused no small consternation among the Sinagua inhabitants at the time. We'll explore a lava trail near Sunset Crater, the cinder cone that resulted from this eruption. Then we'll drive down into the Painted Desert to Wupatki, one of many Anasazi pueblos. You'll learn a lot about the anthropology of the Colorado Plateau. Wupatki could be pretty hot at this time of year, but there are air conditioned visitor centers at both monuments with rest rooms, food, exhibits, and gift shops. The round trip from Lowell will be about 70 miles. Note: Entrance to the monuments is $5.00 per person; the single fee covers both Sunset and Wupatki. (Pictured: The LOC's assistants explore an Anasazi ballcourt at Wupatki National Monument.)
Red Rock Panoramas
Summary: Views plus a short hike on dirt / slickrock trail
Just 25 miles from Flagstaff are the Red Rocks of Sedona, where the high Colorado Plateau drops 2500' into the lower desert country of Arizona. We'll take the gorgeous drive through Oak Creek Canyon and stop at the canyon overlook. Many Native American vendors will be there with authentic crafts. In Sedona, we'll take a short hike on one of the many trails in the area, and then drive up to the top of Airport Mesa for a beautiful panorama. It is likely to be quite warm (perhaps 90 F) and extremely dry. We'll supply water and snacks. Bring sturdy shoes. (Pictured: The Seven Sacred Pools, among the beautiful Red Rocks.)
Summary: Optical telescopes and an optical interferometer
Take a tour of observing facilities near Flagstaff. We'll visit our Anderson Mesa research site 10 miles from Flagstaff, and then continue on to the Discovery Channel Telescope site at Happy Jack, AZ. You'll get a look at several optical telescopes and the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer (a joint project of the U. S. Naval Observatory, Naval Research Lab, and Lowell Observatory). (Pictured: Aerial view of Anderson Mesa with Lowell telescopes at center left and NPOI at right. Flagstaff lies at the foot of the mountains in the distance.)