Science Getaways: T- 4 months

By Phil Plait | May 16, 2012 1:34 pm

Science Getaways is a company my wife and I started so that science enthusiasts (and you better face it, since you’re reading this, that’s you) can go on a vacation that has extra science added. For me, science isn’t a career or a hobby — it’s a lifestyle. I can’t get enough, even on vacation, so we figured why not put together vacation deals that have bonus value-added science?

The first Getaway is September 16 – 20 of this year, and it’ll be at the C Lazy U ranch, an all-inclusive luxury ranch in the Rocky Mountains. We visited there last year and it’s incredibly beautiful. The views are spectacular, and you’re really out in the middle of nature there.

Which brings up a funny coincidence. This morning I was going through some photos I took, and stumbled on one I took last year when I was up in Rocky Mountain National Park filming a science documentary. When we finished shooting we packed up the gear and headed down the path to the van. As we made that long walk, I looked over to my right and was pretty surprised to see this:

About two dozen elk were just standing or sitting around, casually watching us and other hikers as we stumbled down the path! It was astonishing; they were very calm and satisfied to just watch us walk by, although the male — that’s him with the antlers — was eyeballing us to make sure we didn’t get too close to his harem. He didn’t have to worry. I was too busy trying not to kill myself carrying the big camera tripod over my shoulder; wandering off the path to get a closer look at his wives wasn’t really on my mind.

As I looked at the picture of the elk I started thinking about seeing more of them now that the weather is warmer and we start weekend hiking in the Rockies again. That’s when I thought about Science Getaways — the ranch hands told us that in late summer it’s common for herds of elk to walk across the ranch grounds. Elk are big — like horse-sized deer — so that must be quite a sight (check out these photos of elk at the ranch in the winter). And that’s not all we’re likely to see; there are mule deer, pronghorn, eagles, and more — maybe even moose. Biologist Dave Armstrong will be with us to point all that out and tell us about what we’re experiencing, too.

I’m really looking forward to the nature hikes. That area of the Rockies is surpassingly beautiful (you don’t have to take my word for it; here’s a family who wrote up their experiences at the ranch). Of course, once the Sun goes down, the reins of science will be passed from biology to astronomy. I think of all the things about this, that’s what I’m most excited about: clear, dark, crisp skies, and unfettered access to telescopes! I’m bringing my Celestron 8", and there will be other ‘scopes there too. The views will be amazing, whether you’re looking out over the mountains, or up over the mountains!

If you’re interested, take a look at the site we’ve set up for Science Getaways. Also, my friend Maria at Skepchick interviewed me about this, too. If you have questions please drop us a line!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Science
MORE ABOUT: Science Getaways

Comments (13)

Links to this Post

  1. Science Ranch 2012 | Science Blogs and News | October 11, 2012
  1. DrummerGeek

    I am very interested, how much is it?

  2. Chris

    @1 DrummrGeek

    Cheapest is $355 per person per night + tax. Not for your average folk, but I think Phil tucks you in and reads you a bedtime story.

  3. Alan

    Make next year’s trip be to Iceland and I am SO there…

  4. Bjoern

    Is there any chance that there ever will be such Science Getaways in Europe, too…? ūüėČ

  5. Bob Allee

    Uh – that’s Pronghorn Antelope – not Pronghorn Deer

  6. Dammit Bob he’s an astronomer not a biologist!

  7. Keith K

    @5 – Bob

    One of the first things Wikipedia says is that it’s not an antelope, but commonly referred to as one.

    There are no Antelope in North America.

  8. Jarrod K

    In a perfect world this would be free and bible camp would cost $355/night

  9. I’d still love to go, but it’s just not in the budget. (Unless you offer scholarships for long-time readers [I’ve been following you since before The Hive OvermindDiscover Magazine came along] and their families.)

  10. flip

    I hate you for doing this Phil… only because I’m on the other side of the world and can’t take part. If you’re ever in Australia….

  11. Matt B.

    I used to live in Highlands Ranch very near an elk migration path. I only learned that when I noticed dozens of them out in an open field. Later, I worked in Parker and got to see deer out the window, resting in the shade of the building (I think they were on the same path as the elk, but 20 miles east).

  12. Diederick

    I’m with Bjoern on this one. A few post earlier you mentioned wanting to go to Norway anyway, right?


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