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Summer Solstice Archaeoastronomical Site Visit
June 22 - June 23
Instructor: Mike Campbell
The ancient inhabitants of Petrified Forest were intimately connected to the rhythms of their natural environment. The seasons impacted when they planted, harvested and other important events in their lives. Therefore, it is not surprising the Ancestral Puebloan people would create features that helped them track the passage of time. One of the most important of these would be archaeoastronomical markers marking the summer solstice.
Join us for an extraordinary cross-country, overnight trip to view this rare event. We will visit a 1000-year-old petroglyph that is featured in many books as the sun splits it in half at the precise moment of the summer solstice—an experience sure to provide the participants a deeper connection with the land and those whose lives were so dependent upon it.
Our trip will take us through the park’s seldom-visited, southernmost wilderness unit. The hike begins on the Long Logs Trail, but soon trades the beaten path for the backcountry. After hiking through an assortment of petrified logs and arid shortgrass prairie, we’ll eventually enter the maze-like badlands. Exiting the badlands, we’ll set up camp for the night in a sparsely vegetated wilderness area.
On day two, we’ll rise before the sun and embark on a pre-dawn hike to the solar marker. If the skies are clear, the shadows cast at sunrise will bisect the solar marker.
Following sunrise, we’ll return to the campsite to break camp and shuttle back to the parking area. Details of the itinerary are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Parking and camping details will be provided at registration.
Length: Two-day overnight wilderness camping
Max group size: 8
- $229 – Non-Member
- $200 – Member
Participants should bring light camping gear (some camping gear may be available on loan to the extent possible), food, water, toiletries and sleeping bags. Dress in layers as the summer nights can still be a little chilly. Campfires are not permitted in the park.
Equipment list, parking and camping details will be made available at registration.
Our group will meet at the South end of the park (State Hwy 180 from Holbrook) at the Rainbow Forest Museum. Entrance vouchers for participants will be available at the south entrance gate, redeemable by showing confirmation of registration.