Up Close and Personal with Pluto – Flagstaff, Arizona Photos Posted

2015 has been the Year of Pluto, as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft hurtles through our galaxy and finally arrived this summer at the distant, cold and icy domain that has shrouded Pluto in mystery since its discovery in 1930. So it only made sense to visit Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona as I made my way around the United States earlier this spring.

The observatory is perched on a hill overlooking Flagstaff, a city that defies every stereotype I held of Arizona. Instead of finding a dry desert city or retirees, I found an outdoorsy town of youth and vigor at 7,000 feet and carpeted in pine forests. I even biked through Flagstaff’s extensive trail system in the midst of a spring snowstorm, which was oddly exhilarating.

Lowell Observatory is open to the public and tours take you into the observatories where astronomers once peered into the mysteries of space, contemplating life on Mars (Percival Lowell was convinced he saw a canal system through the Clark telescope) and searching for Planet X, the elusive Pluto, discovered by a dedicated groundskeeper named Clyde Tombaugh. Back in town, I sipped my way through laid back coffee houses and brewpubs among the fleece and Patagonia-clad local crowd.

It’s easy to visit Flagstaff without a vehicle. Amtrak calls once a day from both the east and west at the historic station right in the center of town. Multiple Route 66-era motor inns are within walking distance, as are historic hotels and a small hostel. I could walk or bike to all the major sites, and hiking trails lead from the city into the surrounding mountains.

To enjoy my photos of the observatory and city, click on the link: Flagstaff, Arizona


About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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