Worldwide Since 1970
Arizona Wonders Tour
Astronomy, Archaeology & Geology
(2005 September 21 October 2)
Arizona is a land of apparently limitless space, enormous vistas and great diversity. During or tour we will visit sun-swept mountains and valleys, lofty plateaus, narrow canyons, and awesome stretches of desert. The activity level of this tour is easy to moderate.
Nevertheless, Arizona's mean elevation is about 4,100 ft (1,250 m) with the San Francisco Peaks at the highest elevations. (Highest point is Mt. Humphrey at 12,633 ft or 3,851 m). So, our tour will cover a wide range of elevations although we do not go to the top of Mt. Humphrey! Still, one can ride the Arizona Snowbowl ski lift to 11,000 ft. (Ski lift is included in tour for those who wish to do this.) The table below gives approximate altitudes for places on our tour.
Much of Arizona has a desert-like climate. However, its topography varies widely. Consequently, temperatures and precipitation can vary extensively from location to location. In addition, dry air promotes large temperature extremes between day and night. Our tour dates occur in early fall and should minimize stress due to temperature extremes. However, be prepared for both warm days and chilly nights.
Arizona has a summer monsoon season June is often very dry but is then followed by a dramatic increase in rainfall during July and August. Precipitation tapers off slowly in the following months.
Leaves are changing. Yes, many Arizona plants show colorful fall foliage! Days are comfortably cool and refreshing with slightly chilly evenings. Low desert areas (e.g., Phoenix and Tucson) can still have rather warm days (80's to 90's° F) but pleasant evening temperatures (high 50's to high 60's°F). However, at the higher elevations of the North Arizona High Desert Plateau (Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, etc.) and the southern mountains (e.g., Kitt Peak), pleasant day temperatures rule (low 60's to low 70'°F). But be prepared for chilly weather at night (low 30's to mid 40's°F). The table below gives some example September and October temperatures for some locations on our tour.
Nighttime Observing Clothes Our tour includes night observing sessions at both Lowell Observatory and Kitt Peak National Observatory, including some night star gazing at the Grand Canyon and in the Red Rock Country near Sedona. So, guests should be sure to bring a warm coat, hat, gloves, sweater or sweat shirt, long sleeve shirt and long pants. (Have layers to put on.)
Experienced star gazers know that it can feel much colder at night than what temperatures indicate because one is not active, no Sun shines to give warmth, and winds can blow.
Therefore, dress warmly! Lowell, Kitt Peak and the Grand Canyon are at 7,000 feet, and temperatures can be 15-20 degrees cooler than in cities as Tucson.
Dress is casual with emphasis on comfort. Few restaurants require jackets and ties for dining. Jeans and Western wear are always in style. See also nighttime observing above.
Protection from the Sun's strong rays is important especially because of high altitudes. Hats and sunscreen are a must along with good sunglasses for eye protection.
Be sure to bring:
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