Prof. Richard D. Little               invites you to join our                   2013    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, obsidian volcanoes, spectacular glacial valleys, dunes by moonlight, as well as

the GRAND CANYON! I will also brag that you will find lots of faults with this tour, and love every minute of it!   Hopefully the desert flowers will be in bloom, too, like the "five-spot" pictured to the right.


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 warm spring sunshine, swim in a geothermal pool, and have free time for activities you choose.


Includes: Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire,  the best of Las Vegas and Laughlin, two nights at the Grand Canyon’s South rim

 and 4 nights at Furnace Creek Ranch Resort in Death Valley National Park, Mono Lake, views of the High Sierra Nevada.


March 10 - 25, 2013  <>  only  $ 2000 (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.  We will stay along the rim!   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 eroded sedimentary rock 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

Text Box:   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. 




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


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

DAY 2  3/11:   Free Day to explore exciting Las Vegas.   (It’s way more fun than you think!)   DAY 3  3/12:   Valley of Fire State Park.  Short amazing hikes to petroglyphs and slot canyons, picnic lunch.  DAY 4  3/13:    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  3/14:    Depart Las Vegas for Hoover Dam and Lake Mead views and on to the  Grand Canyon National Park.  We will catch the sunset on those colorful sedimentary rocks!  Lodging in cabins on the Rim!   DAY  6   3/15   Drives and short hikes to spectacular views.     DAY 7  3/16 :  Grand Canyon morning activities, then it's on to Laughlin, NV and some exploring along the shore of the Colorado River.  DAY 8:  3/17  Free Day with many options File:Mono-lake-tufa-1981-003.jpgto be discussed.    Day 9  3/18:  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: (DAYS 9, 10, 11, 12.)   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 13  3/22:  Today we head for the high Sierras, just over the hill from Yosemite.  The eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is an impressive "fault scarp" -- a prominent steep mountain front rising 10,000 feet from the desert lowlands.  Alpine glaciers have eroded the highlands and deposited impressive moraines in lower elevations.  There are also obsidian volcanoes here!  This area has incredible landscapes that are beyond description.  Wow. DAY 14  3/23  Explorations in this amazing, unforgettable environment.   DAY 15  3/24:  Return to Las Vegas, a scenic 5 hour drive.  Based on past experience, most people will book one last night in Las Vegas and have a return flight on DAY 16  3/25 . However, if you wish to return on the "red-eye" evening flight, that is an option. 

I will book rooms for March 25th.  Let me know if you do not wish to use this night and I will credit you for this cost  (approx. $40 per person).  

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 $2000 (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 January 1st.      FINAL PAYMENT DUE   February 1st     Cancellation fees:  after January 1st = $50 pp


<>  Also check out our ALASKA TOUR in August, and ICELAND in late June-early July. <>






Text Box:  Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA

Looking SW at the faulted mountain front (the valley has moved down along the fault)