Breaks every hour.Lunch: Lunch at the hotelAfternoon: Enjoy a bus exploration of the city of Albuquerque and a ride on the Sandia Tram to the top of Sandia Peak, where you will be able to see for miles and miles.
Your view will show you the incredibly diverse variety of geology in the immediate area. When you board the tram, you'll ascend 4,000 feet in about 15 minutes, gliding along the western face of the rugged granite-faced Sandia Mountains, eroded into spires, cliffs and pinnacles. The hardy pines, fir and spruce growing there are home to many different birds and other animals. Tram riders may see an eagle, a mule deer or perhaps a black bear as they look out the glass walls of the cable car into the deep canyons. From the top, you can see 11,000 square miles of the Land of Enchantment. To the west is a volcano field, to the north are other volcanic necks and plugs, to the northwest, Redondo Peak in the Jemez Mountains rises from a caldera known as Valle Grande, a volcanic crater reported to be the largest in the world. To the east lies the heavily wooded back side of the Sandias, and on the far horizon, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the capital city of Santa Fe. Farther to the south, the Estancia Valley and the Manzano Mountains frame the view. The summit is 10,378 feet in elevation and will give you an overview of an incredible amount of geology.
Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurantEvening: Return to the hotel; the rest of the evening is free.Lodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The bus then continues to Valley of Fires Recreation Area with a stop in Socorro, NM to pick up boxed lunches at El Camino Restaurant.
Valley of Fires Recreation Area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow.
Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.
From a distance, Valley of Fires appears as barren rock, but when you walk through the nature trail there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan Desert. Animals living there include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, and lizards. It's also a virtual birdwatcher's paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, buzzards, hawks, and gnat catchers.Lunch: Boxed lunch at Valley of Fires recreation areaAfternoon: Bus travels from Valley of Fires to Alamogordo, New Mexico, with site visits along the way.
Check in at hotel in Alamogordo at about 4:30 PM.Dinner: Dinner at local restaurantEvening: Optional videoLodging: Best Western Desert Aire HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lying at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert is a mountain-ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is White Sands, one of the world's great natural wonders. Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and have created the world's largest gypsum dune field. The brilliant white dunes are ever-changing: growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing. Within the extremely harsh environment of the dune field, even plants and animals adapted to desert conditions struggle to survive. Only a few species of plants grow rapidly enough to survive burial by the moving dunes. Several types of small animals have evolved with a white coloration that camouflages them in the gypsum sand.Lunch: Boxed lunch at the monumentAfternoon: Board the bus at 12:30 PM and travel on to Carlsbad. The bus will make several stops, and your study guide will point out various geological features of the landscape. Check in at hotel around 4:15 PM.Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner, there will be a geology lecture at the hotel.
Lodging: Best Western Stevens InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Be prepared to have your luggage at the bus no later than 8:15 AM for an 8:30 AM departure.Morning: After breakfast and hotel check-out, bus departs for Albuquerque at 8:30 AM.
With several stops on the way, you'll travel to Roswell and visit the Roswell Museum and Art Center from 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM.
At 11:30, bus travels to lunch destination.Lunch: Lunch at Roswell's Golden CorralAfternoon: Bus continues on to Albuquerque at 12:45 PM. Total travel time is approximately 4 hours.
Arrive at MCM Elegante Hotel at approximately 5:00 PM for check-in.Dinner: Dinner from 6:30-8:00 PM in the hotel dining room.
Closing comments from participants, study guide, and group leader end the evening.Lodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel provides free shuttle service to Albuquerque Sunport with advance reservations.Meals Included: Breakfast