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Field Trips

Only current SAR members may attend the School’s popular field trips, which are offered on seasonal schedules throughout the year and range from half-day trips to adventures lasting several days.  Click here to see our current list of exciting field trips for 2018.

Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle on SAR Field Trips

As part of SAR’s commitment to sustainable resource use and a healthy environment, we will no longer supply disposable water bottles during our field trips. Instead we are asking that field trip participants bring their own refillable water bottles. Additional water will be available to participants for the refilling of their bottles on full-day trips. A selection of sodas will also continue to be available on field trips.

Originally part of a stereoview, photograph courtesy Jason S. Ordaz

Trip Activity Levels

  • Easy: Limited walking. Participants must be able to get in and out of vans and walk unassisted short distances from parking areas to museums or art studios.
  • Moderate: Participants must be in good health. Activities may require walking on paved or unpaved surfaces with generally firm footing, over distances of up to 2 miles over the course of the day.
  • Strenuous: Participants must be in excellent health, extremely mobile, and accustomed to an active lifestyle. Activities may require hiking off-trail, over uneven ground with elevation changes of 500 feet, and walking the equivalent of up to 5 miles over the course of the day.

Cancellation Policy

To keep our field trips operating smoothly and fairly, SAR implements the following cancellation policy:

If an individual participant cancels, all monies will be refunded up to six weeks prior to the trip date except for any tickets already purchased, or penalties incurred from the hotel for room cancellation. The donation portion of the trip is not refundable.

In addition, if the cancellation of this individual brings the trip total to under the minimum number, then a full refund also cannot be made. At six weeks prior, no refunds will be made.

SAR reserves the right to cancel a field trip if registration is too low to make it economically viable or for other reasons, including, but not limited to: weather, safety, forest fires, unavailability of trip leader, etc. In such cases SAR will refund registrants’ fees in full. SAR also reserves the right to make changes to an advertised itinerary as circumstances require.

2018 SAR Field Trips

A Rare Journey into the Revitalization of San Felipe Pottery

March 24, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
$240 per person
To register for this trip, click here.
Limited to 26 people

Study Leader:  Ray “Duck” Garcia  

Ray Garcia and his San Felipe Pottery

Ray Garcia holding his pottery during an IARC collection seminar

In 2012, SAR’s Indian Arts Research Center brought together seven potters from San Felipe Pueblo to discuss the past, present, and future of pottery making in their community. The potters met three times over the course of the year to grapple with various issues such as how to define pottery from San Felipe and what it means to be a potter from San Felipe. During their meetings, they also shared ideas, materials, and techniques related to creating pottery.

Virtually unknown to the general public, San Felipe pottery is distinct not in its designs or patterns, but because of a consistent trend of experimentation and innovation that cuts across many art forms at the pueblo. This special field trip with Ray “Duck” Garcia, one of the participating San Felipe potters, will provide SAR members with a rare opportunity to visit with the potters and to learn how the collaborations instigated by the SAR seminars have “opened doors” and provided opportunities for them to engage other pueblo members, including young children, in sustaining the pottery tradition.

San Felipe Pueblo is a Keres-speaking pueblo on the banks of the Rio Grande south of Santa Fe with a rich history predating European and Mexican contact. Long known for its agricultural traditions, its pottery is less well known among scholars and collectors. The pueblo has been quiet about its pottery traditions over the decades with the pottery of nearby pueblos drawing more attention. Yet San Felipe pottery is unique and beautiful.

Join us for a trip to this less-visited pueblo and learn about its pottery from several artists. We’ll have conversations and demonstrations in a pueblo home.  After we enjoy a pueblo meal, we’re invited by Ray to observe the outdoor pottery-firing process. This outing is a rare opportunity to go inside the pueblo and gain insight into its culture and evolving artistic traditions.

Activity Level: Easy

Includes: Lunch (a pueblo meal), transportation, guide, entry fees, gratuities, and snack and water on the bus Minimum of 20, maximum of 26

Exploring Jemez Pueblo Archaeology, Agriculture, and Art

April 25, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
$250 per person
To register for this trip, click here.
Limited to 26 people

Study Leaders:
Marlon Magdalena, Jemez Pueblo artist and instructional coordinator, Jemez Historic Site
Matt Barbour, regional manager, Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites
Kathleen Wall, Jemez Pueblo artist

Kathleen Wall and her artwork in the SAR Dubin Studio

Kathleen Wall and her artwork in the SAR Dubin Studio

Join SAR for a day immersed in the past and present of Jemez Pueblo culture. We’ll start our visit at Jemez Historic Site, with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Giusewa (place of hot springs) Pueblo Site and the San Jose de los Jemez Mission and discuss their significant roles in the history of the Jemez Pueblo people. Marlon Magdalena will share information from the research he and others have done as well as native flute music performed on the flutes he crafts.

A short drive to the Soda Dam will allow us to view and discuss Jemez Cave, which was occupied by forefathers of today’s Jemez people and believed to be one of the Southwest’s earliest agricultural sites (ca. 1000 BC).  Archaeological excavations of Jemez Cave were part of a Civilian Conservation Corps project in conjunction with SAR and other institutions. Several human burial sites were discovered in the cave, along with some of the most intact examples of turkey feather blankets and yucca cordage as well as animal bone and seeds. Matt Barbour worked as an archaeologist with the state of New Mexico and has researched and written about Jemez Cave.

Then we’re off to Jemez Pueblo for lunch, a fun, hands-on (greasy!) affair of pulling our own fry bread and making delicious Indian tacos at the home and studio of Kathleen Wall. Kathleen is a former SAR artist in residence and works in Native clay incorporating technology with traditional techniques. She will host us for a demonstration and conversation about her current art projects.

Activity Level: Easy

Includes: Lunch (a pueblo meal), transportation, guide, entry fees, gratuities, and snack and water on the bus Minimum of 20, maximum of 26.

The Chaco World

May 20-22, 2018
$1,200 for double occupancy; $1,500 for single occupancy
To register for this trip, click here.
Limited to 26 people

Study Leader:  Steve Lekson  — Curator of archaeology, professor of anthropology, University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Dr. Lekson has researched and written extensively on the Southwest and has directed archaeological excavations throughout New Mexico and Colorado.

This is not the first SAR field trip to Chaco Canyon, but with Dr. Lekson on board, it’s guaranteed to be thought provoking and stimulating while taking you into places that are not typically visited. Without question, Chaco Canyon is the most important and mysterious prehistoric site in the American Southwest. Join us for a three-day trip into Chaco Canyon and some of its northern outliers in New Mexico and southern Colorado including Pierre’s Site, Kutz Canyon, Aztec Monument, and Chimney Rock National Monument. Dr. Lekson will share information and ideas on the Chaco World and its influence and success in contrast to sites such as Aztec, which followed Chaco but did not flourish.

Day one will include our travel time to Chaco Cultural National Historical Park which is a lengthy and beautiful drive. We’ll picnic at Chaco and then venture out to several archaeological sites in the canyon. The site of a great ancestral pueblo center in the eleventh and twelfth centuries AD, the ruins in Chaco Canyon look like a city to some archaeologists, a ceremonial center to others. Chaco and the people who created its monumental great houses, extensive roads, and network of outlying settlements remain an enigma in American archaeology.

After spending the night in Farmington, we’ll head out early to explore a couple of sites on the Great North Road, a significant feature of the Chacoan world, which is aligned with the Chaco Meridian and is part of a theory developed by Dr. Lekson. The Great North Road has its origin in several routes that ascend by staircases carved into the cliff from Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Ketl in Chaco Canyon, the two largest structures of the region. The routes converge at Pueblo Alto, a large structure located close to the north rim of the canyon, and then continue almost due north for another fifty kilometers.

We’ll drive and then walk into Pierre’s Site, the largest archaeological complex on the Great North Road. This site features room blocks, kivas, lookouts, and signaling locations perched atop small mesas. Occupied during the heyday of Chaco culture, this site is part of the larger cultural landscape of pueblos, shrines, solar and lunar observatories, and roads that stretched across the San Juan Basin and beyond a thousand years ago.

We’ll journey on to visit Kutz Canyon, which is where the Great North Road descends from the Kutz Canyon escarpment to the canyon floor and then continues on to Salmon Ruins and Aztec Ruins.

We’ll also make a stop at Aztec Ruins National Monument, another site on the Chaco Meridian, and on our route to Durango, Colorado, our terminus for the evening and overnight.

Day three is another full day of learning and exploration as we visit Chimney Rock National Monument, the most remote and highest Chacoan site (7,000 feet elevation).

Chimney Rock is a stunning sedimentary bluff on the southern edge of the San Juan mountains near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. One of the most northern Chaco outliers, it provides an unusual perspective on Chacoan prehistory. Dr. Kim Malville of University of Colorado, Boulder, demonstrated that Chimney Rock likely served as an occasional host of pilgrimage festivals during the times of the Northern Major Lunar Standstill Event, which takes place every 18.6 years, as well as playing other significant roles in the Chaco World.  Dr. Lekson will guide us on an exploration of this site, including first hand findings from recent excavations and research.

We’ll complete our loop via Pagosa Springs, with a stop for lunch by the San Juan River, before the scenic drive back to Santa Fe with views of Southern Colorado’s high peaks and on through the stunning scenery of the Ghost Ranch area and the Chama River Valley.

Activity Level:  Moderate**

** Pierre’s Site involves hiking ¾-mile without trails, down an arroyo bottom with 100’ elevation loss/gain, and an optional scramble/climb up a 100-foot mesa
**Chimney Rock requires a 1/4-mile (one way) hike on a rugged trail with 100′ elevation gain.  Not for people with fear of heights: narrow ridge trail with 1000′ drop on either side
**Access into Chaco Canyon and Pierre’s Site requires us to transfer to a school bus for the trip into the park.

Includes: Transportation, bottled water and snacks on board, guide, all entrance fees, two breakfasts, three lunches, one dinner, hotel accommodations, and all gratuities, based on a guaranteed minimum of 20 guests. Dinner in Durango will be on your own.

Click to see the archive of SAR’s Past Field Trips