News from the Field: Day 1--Las Vegas to Death Valley

We made it! After a short night of sleep, most of the group met at Collins Living-Learning Center at 4:30 AM, got to the airport by 5:30, in time to meet the out-of-towners and check in on the flight. An on-time departure at 6:45 and a smooth flight--well, as soon as we got past the midwest thunderstorms--allowed the exhausted passengers to catch up on lost sleep. Spectacular view of Monument Valley, Pike's Peak, the Grand Canyon, and Lake Mead. We arrived safely in beautiful McCarren airport, ran off to get the rental cars, and headed off into the desert. A gourmet lunch at the Indian Springs Casino got us ready for some afternoon adventures: a view of the Nevada Test Site, a geologic overview of Death Valley from the spectacular overlook at Dante's View, and a view of the unusual badland topography of Zabriskie Point. We headed to the Furnace Creek Ranch for a swim, a dinner at the Forty-Niner Cafe, and an evening display of shooting stars.

    May 10th
The exhausted travelers at the Indy airport at 5:30AM!
Nicole's ready to go!
Lauren's ready for the flight--or to go back to bed!
A power breakfast -- and only 250 Calories!
And suddenly, Dan and Jack come to life!
And before we know it, we're at McCarren airport in Las Vegas--with a view of the mountains--and the pyramids!
And off to our favorite desert lunch spot!
The group checks out the menu at the Indian Springs Casino...
And Nicole Phillips and Esther Hunt provide the evening's entertainment!
The group can't wait to dig in to Basin and Range geology -- in the casino parking lot!
Our first scientific target--the Nevada Test Site
Here's a sign I'll bet you've never seen before!
Our entrance to Death Valley: the Ryan borax mine
John Rupp lectures at the Dante View overlook
Followed by a good discussion of Death Valley geology
Megan Patterson soaks in the view over Death Valley
And Adam Ganson does too!
The long trek back to the vehicles
And look what we found--a collared lizard!
The spectacular deformed Tertiary sediments at Zabriskie Point
The group ends the day at the Zabriskie Point overlook