A Grand Day Out


Continuing our new series of academic travelogues from various corners of the globe, Kath Williams continues her report on our 2005 Field School in Anthropology and Astronomy.

Day 2 After a brief look around the San Xavier Mission , we visited the Arizona State folklorist, Jim Griffiths, who gave us some of the background information we needed for our visit to the Yaqui Easter ceremony scheduled for the next day. Onwards (and upwards) to Kitt Peak National Observatory , home to (amongst many other things) the worlds largest solar telescope. Our hosts at Kitt peak were Robert and Kevin, two excellent science communicators who shared responsibility on a general orientation and introduction to the facility and then an all night observing programme which incorporated the opportunity for students to capture some CCD images of deep sky objects

Day 3 Back to Picacho Peak and then on to the Yaqui Easter ceremony (see above)

Day 4/5/6 Grand Canyon … incredible!! We were met by a National Park Ranger who gave us a general introduction to the park and talked about some of the important current management issues. On recommendation, some of the students decided to hike down into the canyon for an hour or so and came away with a very different perspective to those visitors who come for just a couple of hours, take in all the vista points and shoot back out and onto their next destination with hardly a breath between. We also went over to Tusayan , site of an ancient Pueblo village and a small but fascinating museum where we learned more about the ancient peoples who had once lived in, on and around the canyon. At Grand Canyon, we were also lucky enough to meet with Phyllis, now a grandmother, who is a native and descendant of the ancient peoples of the area. As a young girl, Phyllis lived in the Hopi House at Grand Canyon and she shared some of her experiences and traditional stories with us.



    April 22, 2005

    Out of curiosity, did you notice any aircraft flying tours through the canyon? Were you disturbed by them if you did notice one or more?

    I just spent a few hours during my work placement working my way through newly published FAA regulations about QT technology standards for the GCNP, so I’m rather curious to hear what people who have actually been there think.

    Kath Williams

    April 22, 2005

    Rob… We didn’t see or hear any aircraft noise while we were at Grand Canyon but there have been some changes recently and aircraft are now only allowed to fly some way ‘above the rim’ of the canyon and with more limited routes. The only aircraft allowed below the rim are emergency craft and then, it seems, only when the emergency is considered to be of a life threatening nature. You can find some info with links at http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0%2C1280%2C-4902740%2C00.html

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