Monday, September 14, 2015

Exploring the Southern Cascade Range or Yosemite National Park for College Credit! Sept. 24-28 and Oct. 9-11

Captain Jack's Stronghold, where the Modoc people held out for months against U.S. troops. The site is protected today as Lava Beds National Monument.
This message is primarily for my readers in the Modesto region, but others are invited to consider this opportunity. Modesto Junior College has an active geology field studies program that offers the chance to explore some of the best geology on the planet, in the mountains and deserts of California and other parts of the American West. The courses provide valuable field experience for geology majors and teachers of earth science, and can provide rich life experiences for people who are casually interested in geology. We have a bit of room if you wish to join us!
The opening of Skull Cave, the largest lava tube entrance in Lava Beds National Monument.
We are offering two extended overnight trips this semester. On September 24-28, we will explore the geology of California's volcanoes (Geology 185; 2 semester units), and on October 9-11, we spend three days in and around Yosemite National Park (Geology 180; 1 semester unit). Both trips involve camping out in sometimes rugged conditions, using vans supplied by the department. The cost includes the per-unit registration fee, and an additional $90 for Geology 185, and $45 for Geology 180.
Valentine Cave in Lava Beds National Monument
The trip for Geology of California's Volcanoes will include stops at Castle Crags State Park in the Klamath Mountains, Mt. Shasta (including a drive to the end of the road at 8,000 feet), Lava Beds National Monument, Medicine Lake Highland (the biggest but not highest volcano in California), and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Some challenging hikes (and cave explorations) will be offered, but not required. One will be able to complete the course without great physical exertion, although one should be in reasonably good health to be out there traveling and camping.
McArthur-Burney Falls in the Cascade Range
The Geology 180 course, Geology of the Central Sierra Nevada, will explore all of the accessible parts of Yosemite National Park, including Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, Glacier Point, and possibly Hetch Hetchy. We will be camping at Wawona and Crane Flat during the trip.
Lassen Peak is the most recent volcano to erupt in California, in 1914-15.
If you are in the Modesto area, we are having an organizational meeting for both of the trips on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 5:30 PM in Science Community Center 326 on the West Campus of MJC. If you can't make the meeting, contact me (hayesg(at) More information can be found at and Several day trips will be offered later on in the semester, to the Mother Lode (if it hasn't burned completely up), and to Pinnacles National Park and the San Andreas fault.

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