STARGAZE 2019, an astronomy and art adventure in West Texas

May 15-19, 2019 Big Bend National Park

Days: 5   |   Group size: 14   |  Lodging style: Tents (Double occupancy) + Restroom & Solar Showers 

An extraordinary experience at Big Bend National Park.

Enjoy the incredible beauty of the Rio Grande. Majestic mountains, beautiful riverscapes, and stark desert views. Experience the vibrant art culture in the small West Texas town of Marfa, and explore the night sky with experts from the famed McDonald Observatory at an evening star party. If that sounds awesome, it's all in addition to the extraordinary hiking and friendships you'll find along the way. Of course, if you're excited to catch up on some reading or catch a few extra zzzs, that's fine too. Choose as much or as little adventure as you want!

The Location

Chisos Basin Campground, perched high in the rugged Chisos Mountains, is one of the most sought-after campgrounds in Big Bend National Park. At an altitude of 5,400 ft., the campground is surrounded on all sides by tall, rocky cliffs and is conveniently located near some of the park’s most spectacular and popular trails. This campground offers excellent views and mild temperatures. Also found in the Chisos Basin area is the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, the General Store and the Chisos Mountains Lodge, which houses the only restaurant in Big Bend National Park.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Travel to Big Bend National Park + Window View Trail

Enjoy the comfort of premium SUVs as we set out at 8:30a from Austin towards Big Bend National Park. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch (as well as on-the-road snacks) on the way, and arrive at Chisos Basin Campground with enough daylight to set up camp, and take an optional short hike to Window View Trail. Then settle in with new friends for dinner and a relaxing campfire.

Day 2 - Explore Big Bend + Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive + Chihuahuan Desert + Rio Grande

After a hearty breakfast, the park is yours to explore. If self exploration is your thing, grab a buddy and hit the trails. With mountain, desert, and river hikes, Big Bend has everything for your hiking appetite. Want to see the famed Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive? Set out on a driving tour through the park with fantastic views of the Chihuahuan Desert landscape and Rio Grande. There are scenic overlooks and exhibits along the way, and the short walks to Sam Nail Ranch and Homer Wilson Ranch and a visit to the Castolon Historic District will give you a glimpse into Big Bend’s past.

Day 3 - McDonald Observatory + Star Party at Rebecca Gale Telescope Park

Wake up to the small of fresh coffee, and get ready for another exciting day of adventure. This isn’t an ordinary day, however. We’ll begin the day exploring some of the mountain trails, and end the day with a Star Party at the McDonald Observatory. Enjoy night sky constellation tours and views of celestial objects through a number of telescopes (varying in size up to a 24-inch Ritchey–Chrétien telescope) in the Rebecca Gale Telescope Park. It’ll be a late night as we head back to camp and enjoy the glow of the fire, and maybe some more stargazing!

Day 4 - Marfa, Texas + Art Walk + Prada Art Installation by Elmgreen and Dragset

After refueling with your favorite breakfast items, it’s off to Marfa, the famed artsy city of west Texas. We’ll arrive in Marfa around noon for some self-guided exploration after visiting the much-photographed Prada store in the desert (art installation). Then, we’ll meet up in the late afternoon for the trip back to camp. Want to explore more of Big Bend National Park or relax around camp instead of heading to Marfa? That’s A-OK. The trip to Marfa is optional. After a big day of adventuring or relaxing, it’s time for dinner and relaxing by the fire — another epic day in the books.

Day 5 - Final day at Big Bend + Travel to Austin

Wake up will be a little earlier today so we can enjoy breakfast together and break down camp. Then it’s time to pack up and head back towards Austin Texas for an evening arrival (around 8p).

What's Included

Three meals a day and snacks. Tent, sleeping pad, communal stoves, all cookware, flashlight, sleeping bag (these are rented to you for the duration of the event). Camping fees. Star Party fees. All transportation. Camp swag. Fire and s’mores supplies.

What’s not included

You’re responsible for getting to and from the pickup point in Austin, TX.

Cancellation and transfer policy

Initial payment/deposit is non-refundable unless trip is cancelled due to lack of interest. The deposit guarantees your spot on the trip.

Refunds will be issued on the following schedule (minus the initial payment)

– More than 31 days before start of event – 30% is nonrefundable
– 30 days and more than 1 week / 8 days 60% is nonrefundable
– 1 week / 7 days and more than 72 hours 80% is nonrefundable
– 72 hours or less 100% is nonrefundable

If you make your reservation within 31 days of arrival, the entire payment is due at once. If you’re on a payment plan, all your payments must be complete within 31 days of arrival.

Geek Adventures reserves the right to change or cancel this trip and services and cannot be held responsible for unforeseeable circumstances over which we have no control and the consequences of which it could not have prevented. Geek Adventures will notify you as soon as possible and will attempt to make only minor changes if required.

Transfer of reservation

An attendee may transfer his/her reservation to a party that meets the terms of participation with more than 30 days notice to arrival. Get in touch to make the switch. In such an instance, the transferor and the transferee hold both joint and individual responsibility in respect of the payment of any outstanding amounts and of any extra costs that may derive from such transfer.

The charge for a transfer of a reservation is $200 per person.

Insufficient participation

In a case where Geek Adventures is cancelled by us, for example, due to insufficient participation, cancellations will be made with at least 30 days notice. A full refund will be issued.

Insurance

Geek Adventures does not provide personal travel insurance. Participants are advised to secure, at their own expense, personal travel, accident/illness and luggage insurance. Cancellation insurance is not included in the price of a tour.

Participants’ obligations

Travelers suffering from any known or suspected medical condition that may have an effect on travel must notify Geek Adventures at least 30 days before departure. In such cases, the traveler must also produce a medical certificate confirming fitness to travel. Geek Adventures reserves the right to refuse or to cancel bookings if relevant certificates are not provided. In this regard, Geek Adventures will not be liable for any failure, negligence, or deceit on behalf of the traveler. Geek Adventures will not be liable for any operator’s refusal to carry any person who has not notified Geek Adventures of their condition.

Participants must abide by the instructions of the tour guide or the personnel of the party with whom Geek Adventures does business. The passenger is obligated to comply with the general law and public regulations in the visited country. Attendees should show consideration for fellow travelers and abide by the common practices in transportation vehicles, at the points of transit (for example, at air terminals), at places of accommodation, at restaurants, etc., as he/she is responsible for any damage he/she may cause by his/her conduct. A passenger who does not show up at the point of departure (for example, at the air terminal) at the appropriate time has waived his/her right to compensation if he/she misses the reserved tour.

If a passenger is in breach in this respect or who at the beginning of tour indicates that he/she will cause disturbance to the fellow travelers by means of conduct, intoxication, etc., Geek Adventures is authorized to prevent him/her from embarking on or continuing the journey. The relevant passenger must complete it at his/her expense, without any right to claim reimbursement by the travel agency.

Geek Adventures is authorized to refuse to accept the business of persons on the grounds of their previous offenses and to reject the business of individuals who the travel agency deems as unable to travel, for example, on the grounds of illness, etc.

Accommodations

All tickets include rental of everything you need to comfortably tent camp:

  • Coleman Sundome 3 person tents (2 people per tent unless otherwise requested).
  • Sleeping bag, pad, flashlight.
  • Utensils, plates, cups, and other mealware are included.
  • Free tent camping is included with your ticket price.
  • All meals + snacks are included.
  • Lawn games are included

Are there showers and restrooms?

Restrooms are a short walk from the campsite in the main camping area. Solar showers will be made available for use by all campers.

Food

Three meals a day plus snacks will be provided, and we’ll prepare meals together. This is a sample menu, and we try to change up the menu daily.

We’ll do our best to accommodate food preferences regarding vegetarian and allergy needs.

Sample menu

Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Turkey sausage
  • Pancakes or potatoes
  • Coffee / tea

Lunch

  • Cold cut or peanut butter sandwich
  • Fresh fruit and veggies
  • Chips
  • Soda

Dinner

  • Foil packs (hamburger, fresh veggies)
  • Yellow seasoned rice
  • Soda
  • Dessert: S’mores

 

Gear list

Clothing

Shoes

Additional gear

Personal

  • Towel
  • Personal items / toiletries

Food stuff

We’ll provide food, and implements needed to cook it. And, don’t worry, we’ll also have s’mores materials. That’s probably the most important part!

Other stuff

  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Bandanna
  • Camera
  • Charger for phone / camera / etc

Q & A

Who attends?

Attendees are self identifying geeks, people working in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and/or people with geeky hobbies. It’s possible to geek out on just about anything. Don’t get too hung up on the definition. If the event sounds fun, you’re good-natured, and you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll fit right in.

Here’s a sample from attendee registration forms

What people are looking forward to

  • Human connection
  • Decompression
  • New relationships
  • Inspiring conversations
  • Networking
  • Great conversations
  • Bonding
  • Awesome people disconnected from the world

Talents people are bringing to camp

  • Art
  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Watercolours
  • Fire building
  • Accelerant application
  • Fire suppression
  • Juggling
  • Stretching
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Photography
  • Lip sync’ing poorly
  • Improv
  • Drumming

Past attendees from great companies like...

microsoft_PNG4
Yoast_Logo_Large_RGB
American_Airlines_logo
download
580b57fcd9996e24bc43c518
bb-logo-2x
5841c49ea6515b1e0ad75aa6
Pantheon-logo
GoDaddy_Logo_RGB_Full_B
Hasbro_Logo.svg

Reviews

33595207_1729384060459989_3755968073086009344_o

Harivardhan Pyaram

Microsoft

"Four awesome days spent in an amazingly beautiful location with my tribe -- that I didn't know existed -- and 2 impressive hosts! This trip is one for the books."

aGUP6SFh_400x400

Taco Verdonschot

Yoast

"In four days, I didn't just meet new people in the tech industry, I made a ton of new friends. The Geek Adventures atmosphere is really relaxed and encourages you to not bring your laptop and switch your phone to flight mode. Being truly offline gave me the time to really engage in in-depth conversation. And that's an amazing experience!"

28168819_10213281239338537_5253673880904316789_n

Swaati Bhat

"I would highly recommend camping with 'Adventures with Geeks', specially if you are a beginner or first timer. One of the best hosts who is friendly, welcoming and makes sure you don't feel left out. I am glad we chose this event as our first camping in the US. I feel confident and am very keen to explore more camping events in future."

TuvtAkC4_400x400

Brad Williams

Web Dev Studios

"I didn’t know what to expect going to Camp Press. What I promptly learned is that was the entire point of the event—doing the unexpected, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, making new friends, having fun and serious conversations, and doing all of this without the normal technology that is always around us." 

185452b7f0c7f8a662c70482d563f386_400x400

Becky Davis

Becky Davis Design

"Like most of us, I work from home. Working for yourself has a lot of advantages, but having a chance to chat with real people IRL on a regular basis is not one of them. Sitting around a campfire with real people disconnected from technology sounds very appealing."

User_Photo_400x400

Chris Carfi

GoDaddy

"Many of us in the technology industry are “in the flow,” seemingly 24/7. It’s critical to to get out from behind our devices, interact with others in actual conversation, and take time to process. With that time to reflect comes creativity and new ideas."