Prof. Richard D. Little               invites you to join our                   2010     Fantastic Landscapes Tour”

to some of the world’s greatest natural parks and attractions located in the desert Southwest area




FEATURING:    Absolutely sublime scenery and amazing geologic history with explorations in isolated desert canyons

 and the shores of playa lakes -- both dry and wet, plus unusual volcanic explosion craters, dunes by moonlight,

 as well as experiencing the GRAND CANYON twice!         (see below for the daily itinerary)


  We will visit the Hualapai Reservation’s new glass Grand Canyon Skywalk as well as Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim.


Yes…great scenery, spectacular geology, and magical romantic moments, too!  You will have time to book a Las Vegas show (or two), enjoy great food at romantic restaurants, walk in the desert’s winter warmth, swim in a warm-spring-fed pool, and have free time for activities you choose.


Includes: Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Hualapai Indian Reservation,

 the best of Las Vegas and Laughlin, one night at the Grand Canyon’s South rim

 and 4 nights at Furnace Creek Ranch Resort in Death Valley National Park as well as almost 2 weeks away from New England Winter.


January 10 – 22, 2010  (or 23rd to avoid “red eye” flight)    <>  only  $ 1800 (estimated cost)    per person/double occupancy + air fare



A B O U T    T H E     T O U R   (see below for the daily itinerary)




 There are world-class “Fantastic Landscapes” just minutes from the famous Las Vegas Strip’s casinos! Really!  Places like the amazingly colorful Jurassic dune-sandstone cliffs of Red Rock Canyon, a few miles west of town and Valley of Fire State Park, one-hour north, near the shore of Lake Mead. 

Text Box:                   From Las Vegas as a base, we will explore the surrounding spectacular natural landscapes as well as Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.  Las Vegas itself is an amazing sight!  In this unique oasis in the desert there are the casinos with various gambling options [suggestion: stay away from these!] and many artistic and spectacular show-extravaganzas, of course, but there also are some other very interesting attractions:  zoos, aquaria, and museums of natural history and art.    Las Vegas is indescribable – it’s fun, it’s unique; you really have to see this to believe it!


After four nights in Las Vegas, we will travel along the Colorado River and up into the high desert to view the Grand Canyon’s south rim in Grand Canyon National Park (weather permitting).  We will stay along the rim!  Then we will visit the new Skywalk in the Hualapai Indian Reservation at Grand Canyon West.  The Skywalk opened in March of ‘07 and this amazing loop walkway of glass (and other superb viewpoints) will give you an unprecedented “eagles’ view” of the Grand Canyon.  The Colorado River is 4,000 feet below and you will have the option of helicoptering to the riverbank and boarding a small boat for a flat-water excursion on the famous Colorado.  We will have several nights in Laughlin, a Nevada town right along the Colorado River, with river-front lodging and will explore some very interesting desert scenery developed on granite bedrock, something quite different from the landscapes previously seen. 


                 Next we drive through the scenic Basin and Range - Mojave Desert landscape to Death Valley National Park.  Death Valley’s landscape is similar to the Connecticut Valley during the Mesozoic Era -- a time when the eastern side of our continent was splitting from Pangea as the Atlantic Ocean began.  These “rift” valleys are fault bounded, and we will see lots of faults in our travels.  Yes, you will find faults with this tour (as well as alluvial fans, dunes, desert pavement, unusual salt landforms, diverse slot canyons, and many more geologic thrills).  We lodge for 4 nights at Furnace Creek Ranch, a beautiful oasis with a warm-spring-fed swimming pool and even the world’s lowest  golf course at your doorstep (everyone gets a low score here).


                 Spectacular “slot” canyons are eroded into the mountainous sides of Death Valley and other ranges in the region.  Being in the desert, they are dry for most of the year and make for some outstanding nature walks or longer hikes, if you wish.  We will walk to the top of desert sand dunes (by the light of the moon!), and explore desert lakes, both dry and wet.  Finally, we will depart for our return to Las Vegas, about 3 hours away.     

Text Box:  Plan your return plane flight for the evening

or  stay over in Las Vegas for a next day flight, Jan. 23rd. The extra night will add about $50 to your tour price.


Suzanne points out Manly “Beacon”

Death Valley Nat. Pk.


Jurassic-age Dune Sandstone, Valley of Fire State Park


                        ------- DAILY  I T I N E R A R Y  -------


DAY 1  January 10:  arrive Las Vegas for 4 nights with super rooms at a location central to the famous Las Vegas “Strip”

DAY 2  1/11:   Free Day to explore exciting Las Vegas.   (It’s way more fun than you think!)

DAY 3  1/12:   Valley of Fire State Park.  Short amazing hikes to petroglyphs and slot canyons, picnic lunch.

DAY 4  1/13:    Red Rock Canyon tour and short hikes with picnic lunch.  Spring Mt Ranch historic site.  Plan a Las Vegas Show for the evening?

DAY 5  1/14:    Depart Las Vegas for Hoover Dam tour and Lake Mead views.  Grand Canyon National Park is our overnight destination.  Catch the sunset on those colorful sedimentary rocks! [weather permitting --  Our base for activities will be from Laughlin, NV in case of unsafe conditions at the South Rim, due to its high elevation]

DAY  6   1/15   Grand Canyon – South Rim explorations [weather permitting]  Overnight at Kingman (or Laughlin).

DAY 7   1/16 :  Grand Canyon West.  This area in the Hualapai Indian Reservation with its new glass Skywalk has some of the best Grand Canyon – Colorado River views. Note:  you do not have to go on the Skywalk for fantastic views of the Colorado River and Canyon.     Option: Helicopter into the Canyon, with short boat trip.

DAY 8:  1/17   Free Day in Laughlin, along the Colorado River.  Optional afternoon activities to scenic areas.

DAY  9 plus  10, 11, 12.   Today we drive through the interesting and scenic Basin and Range topography to Death Valley National Park. 

                                                                        Overnight at Furnace Creek Ranch Resort, in the Park, for next 4 nights. 

The Ranch, which is 200 feet below sea level, features great views and a naturally warm spring water swimming pool, plus the world’s lowest golf course surrounds the lodgings.  Death Valley Explorations:  canyon and mountain drives, walks and hikes.  Scotty’s Castle visit, volcanic explosion craters, Titus, Mosaic (and other) Canyons, Artist Drive, Dante’s View, Death Valley Dunes, Badwater (-282 elevation) and more incredible sights!

DAY 12   1/22   Final morning activities in the Park then scenic drive to Las Vegas, arriving late afternoon.  Based on past experience, most people will book one last night in Las Vegas and have a return flight on 1/23.

I will book rooms for this night as per your wishes and, depending on departure times, you can usually be transported to the airport in our rental vehicles.


For more information about our tours, plus books and videos on Western New England, visit our web site at or by email: or phone: (413) 527-8536


FAQ’s  --  ( Frequently Asked Questions)  --   and participant comments

Who goes on these “Fantastic Landscapes” Tours?  While our average age of participants is probably mid 50’s, we have had a variety of folks, from families to eighty-something.  How strenuous is the “hiking”?  If you like “nature walks” you’ll love our outings. We have a great variety of options. Some people plan more strenuous activities than others, and our daily activities are geared to meet everyone’s goals, as much as possible. Where do we stay?  We book high quality, medium to small lodgings (usually), in scenic, convenient settings.   Who does the driving?  We use rental mini vans and full-size cars with volunteer drivers.  We buy the maximum extra liability insurance and we have 2-way radios for communication.  I don’t know any geology!  Should I go on this tour?  Yes! If you have an interest in nature, come and learn how to read the “record in the rocks ....... the history in a grain of sand”.  Travel with a geologist to unlock the secrets of the rocks and landscapes. Your tour leader has decades of experience.  Go with our small group and get away from the crowd, but still have a helpful group of friends to share with.  You will have flexibility to stop for that great view, smell the flowers, pick up an incredible rock, have a romantic dinner… 

 The cost is LOW for what you get! (check out other tours and see)   Don’t wait to save your place... seating is definitely limited!


        Who are your tour leaders?  Richard Little is professor emeritus of geology at Greenfield Community College, author of 2 books and 2 videos on Connecticut Valley geology, and has been elected to the Mass. Science Educator Hall of Fame.  He has been leading “Fantastic Landscapes” tours since 1981.  His spouse, Suzanne, loves flowers and has degrees in Biology, Education, and Social Work.


Participants’ comments?   “The trip was superb…we have been singing you praises across the land….”  “It certainly was a fantastic trip… the moonlight walk in the dunes was a sublime experience. We will certainly tell our friends about the great time we had, and thank you again for being such wonderful and caring leaders!”   Want to talk with a past participant?  We can refer you.


THE COST:  only $1800 (estimated) Per person / double occupancy + air


Includes:  First Class Lodging, Transportation, Experienced Tour Leader, Guide Book, Pre and Post Trip Meetings, Video Record of Trip. The cost does not include: air fare, food, gas, and minimal costs of parking and entrance fees to parks, etc.  Gas, etc., costs will be divided amongst the group members.


T O    E N R O L L           Send $500 per person deposit** (check to “Earth View LLC),

6 Grand View Ln, Easthampton, MA 01027-1075) to hold your space.


For questions or more information, contact Prof. Little by phone or email, see above.

**Fully refundable until November 1st.      FINAL PAYMENT DUE November 1st     Cancellation fees:  after Nov. 1st = $50 pp


Also check out our ALASKA TOUR, early-mid August, 2010