GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Books accompanying travelers to the Park since 2002

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Current events in the greater Yellowstone area or relating to Janet Chapple’s travels.

I.
Today is the first day you can drive into the park from the North or East Entrance. What’s more, those of us stuck at home can now get predictions of the daytime eruptions of Old Faithful Geyser on the NPS website.

But, if you are anything like me, you are mostly celebrating that the time for your summer trip to this wonderful park is drawing nearer. Just one thing that may give us pause as we contemplate the sights we are anticipating seeing: the crowds are likely to be amazingly large.

Here are links to a University of Montana report (2.7 MB pdf file) on 2016 crowding in that state’s two national parks and a shorter summary of the report, emphasizing Yellowstone, by Sean Reichard of YellowstoneInsider.com.

II.
If you should happen to be one of the people driving into Yellowstone this weekend, you may want to take part in tomorrow’s Earth Day Walk for Science at Old Faithful. This echoes the Washington, DC, Walk for Science. As an ever-curious non-scientist, if I lived anywhere near the park, I would certainly want to participate in that.

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Through Early Yellowstone book 2016 finalist
We’re celebrating at Granite Peak Publications since we learned that our historical anthology, published in 2016, has a good chance of winning top recognition for that year! Through Early Yellowstone: Adventuring by Bicycle, Covered Wagon, Foot, Horseback, and Skis is a finalist in two categories in this year’s contest run by Foreword Reviews, the foremost organization in helping promote outstanding independent press publications. The categories we entered are: Adventure & Recreation and Travel.

During the 21st century I have loved researching in libraries on both coasts and in Montana and Wyoming to locate the best early Yellowstone writings that need to be preserved in a modern book. By 2003 I had divided my findings into 11 categories, including early expeditions, the public entering the new park, early visits by various means, wildlife, poetry and songs, and other subjects. Wow! Even a sampling of the 85 articles I’d read and enjoyed by 2003 was way too much to fit into one collection.

Still, I kept reading. By 2007 I had read a great deal more but managed to pare my findings and categories down to a manageable number of articles and thought it was time to start seeking a publisher. Compiling what I was then calling Magnificent Playground required using my subjective judgment to reproduce the best written and most entertaining of these. In my letter to one university press, I acknowledged my awareness of two other Yellowstone historical anthologies, Old Yellowstone Days, edited by Paul Schullery, and Ho! for Wonderland, edited by park historian Lee Whittlesey and Betsy Watry. I intended to complement these two predecessor collections, not to compete with them. I wanted to avoid repeating descriptions of the many wonders of the park as much as possible, while giving readers a fascinating taste of early, long-out-of-print visitors’ accounts written by entertaining and talented writers and intrepid adventurers.

My editor/publisher/daughter Beth and I decided to publish the book with Granite Peak Publications, which up to that time had concentrated on putting out Yellowstone Treasures. Beth was particularly good at eliminating authors I had become enamored of but who did not fit well into the collection for our readers. I decided that we needed to include the short writings that I call snippets to show how the idea of an area that begged for preservation as the first national park gradually became a prime destination for travelers from all over the world.

The completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad (NPRR) across Montana in 1883 made access to the park much more convenient than before. A majority of the accounts in Through Early Yellowstone were written by people who used the NPRR and then traveled by horseback or horse-driven coach. Automobiles entered the park for the first time late in the 1915 season, and by 1917 they had taken over completely. It seemed to me the logical point for this anthology to end.

I am proudest of having found and been able to reproduce twenty-seven watercolor sketches, which (as the artist wrote to a friend) “are almost untouched travel sketches, quite half, if not more, of the Park ones being taken on the logger-head of the Mexican saddle of my Cayuse [Indian pony].” The artist, Thomas H. Thomas, visited from Wales in 1884. He wrote a delightful two-part article for a London magazine called The Graphic that turned many of his watercolors into engravings. In my book we reproduce many of the engravings along with his articles and roughly half-size reproductions of his watercolors. These reside in the archives of the National Museum of Wales and have never before been seen in this country.

—Janet

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Search the book for your name or interest

Categories: History, News, Through Early Yellowstone
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Dear readers,
Did you know that Through Early Yellowstone describes a wide variety of people and places? You can now use the Look Inside feature on Amazon.com’s Through Early Yellowstone page to find just what all it covers. Among all the surnames of the writers collected in the anthology or people otherwise mentioned in the book may be your name or the name of someone you know or admire. Names you could look up include ones for just about every letter of the alphabet.

  • Allen
  • Baker
  • Corthell
  • Doane
  • Evermann
  • Folsom
  • Greene
  • Henderson
  • Ingersoll
  • Jordan
  • Kelly
  • Langford
  • Morris
  • Norris
  • Owen
  • Pomeroy
  • Queen’s Laundry (a hot spring, admittedly, but there’s a great watercolor sketch of it in the book!)
  • Roosevelt
  • Saunders
  • Thomas
  • Upper Falls (another geographical name . . . we share a picture from the book below)
  • Victor
  • Wilcox
  • X . . . (OK, now we’re stumped)
  • Yancey
  • Zip (nada for Z)
upper falls Yellowstone 1895

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River


Image credit: Janet Chapple, Through Early Yellowstone: Adventuring by Bicycle, Covered Wagon, Foot, Horseback and Skis (Lake Forest Park, WA: Granite Peak Publications, 2016), 182. Originally published in Barton Warren Evermann, “Two-Ocean Pass” The Popular Science Monthly, 47 (June 1895): 175-87.

—Editor Beth

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Good news, bad news about visitors to Yellowstone

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fox north entrance Yellowstone

This fox was spotted tracking a snowshoe hare from atop the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance earlier this month.

Let’s take a breather from the national news scene to look at the amazing popularity of Yellowstone Park in 2016. The National Park Service office has recently announced record visitation for last year: 4,257,177 visitors came through the gates, up nearly 4 percent over last year’s record. Their January 17th press release attributes much of this huge influx to the number of commercial tour buses—12,778 last year. It’s wonderful to know that people from all over the world are able to travel and enjoy Yellowstone’s wonders, but limits on numbers or timing of visits probably need to be set up to conserve natural resources and keep the park beautiful.

Since the NPS is obliged by law to preserve the parks “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”—as well as to conserve their natural resources—officials are pondering ways to carry out these sometimes opposing obligations. Way back in May of 2011, I developed a plan for a shuttle system on the west side of the park. Unlike a park such as Zion, which essentially has one central road, the figure-eight system of park roads in Yellowstone does not lend itself well to shuttles, but having only the most-traveled west side accessible by shuttle and creating incentives to encourage able-bodied visitors to use them would help the congestion.

As someone who has enjoyed the park for over three-quarters of a century, I don’t want us to love it to death!

—Janet

Photo credit: Yellowstone Forever, @ynpforever Twitter feed, January 6, 2017

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Granite Peak Publications revises our logo

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Granite Peak Publications logo

In 2017, you’ll see this new logo more often.

Back in June, we got a surprising message. The logo we have used since Janet founded Granite Peak Publications in 2000 is a mirror image of the real Granite Peak in Montana! Ralph Saunders, a friend, avid hiker, and mapping expert with Rocky Mountain Surveys of Billings, Montana, let us know with the following note as he ordered a copy of Through Early Yellowstone.

Just a little note. The picture of Granite Peak in the logo is actually reversed. Turn the paper over, hold it up to the light and you’ll see the terrain as it actually is. Not a big deal but thought I would let you know.

Well, it is a big deal, and we will gradually rectify it to the one you see above as we publish upcoming editions.

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New England company with Yellowstone news

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As a forty-four year resident of Rhode Island (until 2005), I was interested to learn today that a company important to the exploration of Yellowstone Lake is now located in next-door Mystic (Connecticut) and written up in The Westerly Sun.

I’ve been following research on the wonders of the lake for many years, especially as written up by Lisa Morgan of the U.S. Geological Survey and involving the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration’s Dave Lovalvo.

A quick apology: My long silence as a blog-poster or tweeter has been due to spending all my time promoting my new historical anthology, Through Early Yellowstone, and working on rewrites needed for a super fifth edition of Yellowstone Treasures.

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An author tour for Through Early Yellowstone

Categories: Bio, News, Through Early Yellowstone
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Janet Chapple lecture BBCW

The author/editor at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming

This fall Janet has been taking the new historical anthology on the road, explaining her research and discovery of the stories and artwork in Through Early Yellowstone: Adventuring by Bicycle, Covered Wagon, Foot, Horseback, and Skis. On September 9, 2016, she was invited to present a slideshow at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Her title, “A Love Affair with Yellowstone National Park,” allowed her to tell the story of her early childhood in the park, her repeated visits, and her research and writing about Yellowstone over the years.

Tidbits of her biography are told elsewhere, such as on the About Us page and in an article called “Celebrating an Old Faithful Area Seventieth Anniversary,” published in August 2009 in The Geyser Gazer Sput (see “Janet Celebrates Her 75th Anniversary in the Park” for some fun stories). But in this lecture she also explained a lot about her research that led to the anthology and the beautiful centerpiece of watercolors.

In her own words:

I spent about a decade reading everything I could get my hands on in libraries on both coasts and at the University of Wyoming library and the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center Library on the northern border of the park. I found that tens of thousands of documents have been preserved. Writers about the Yellowstone area and then the new national park included explorers and adventurers, government expedition members, geologists, artists, park employees, army and administrative personnel, tourists, journalists, and lecturers, all of them thrilled with the wonders they had found.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West poster

The Center of the West lobby with lecture poster

After reading about 250 of these, she, with my help, finally settled on eleven major accounts, many of them illustrated with engravings. These were mostly magazine articles published during 1871-1916, with a few chapters from books. You’ll find the table of contents here, if you are curious and don’t own the book yet.

Back to the story. Here she describes her big find, the watercolors from 1884.

While researching in the Yellowstone Heritage Library, I came across correspondence between Park Historian Lee Whittlesey and a geologist named Alan Channing from Cardiff University, Wales. Channing had done some research in Yellowstone and had become fascinated with the park. Knowing that Thomas H. Thomas, one of my favorite early Yellowstone authors, came from Cardiff, and wondering about the source of the engravings of his Yellowstone scenes, I got in touch with Dr. Channing. He told me that Thomas’s original sketchbook and notebooks were held in the archives of the National Museum of Wales. Then, in 2008 I got to travel to Wales and see the Thomas watercolor sketches in the archives of their museum.

Janet gave substantially the same talk this week at the Bill Lane Center for the West at Stanford University in California. There she regaled the audience with tales while they munched on a lunch that Stanford provided. She has not booked her next event yet, but you are welcome to contact her to suggest one!

–Editor and Publisher, Beth Chapple

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Montana Book Festival news

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Beth at Montana book fair booth On September 24, National Public Lands Day, I hope you had the chance to get out and enjoy one of our beautiful U.S. national parks or monuments. I spent all that Saturday at the book fair of the 2016 Montana Book Festival in the heart of Missoula. Thanks to festival director Rachel Mindell and her band of hard-working volunteers, people had the chance to hear author talks and peruse new books with Montana-based authors or themes. While the book fair was free and open to the public, many participants bought a festival button so they could attend the various events. Some people stopped by the table to reminisce about Yellowstone Park, take a free Yellowstone Treasures postcard or Through Early Yellowstone bookmark, or buy a book. I’ll be taking the show on the road again for Wordstock in Portland, Oregon on November 5th–maybe I’ll see you there!

Fortunately I was able to combine a fun and research-filled road trip to Yellowstone with this book festival. I drove from Seattle with my son on September 18th, spent a mere four days in the park, and we drove back via Missoula. Author Janet and I will be sharing some stories and pictures from our trips over the next few weeks, as well as adding videos to our YouTube channel. Today I added a video called “Fan Creek 360 degree view.”

–Editor and Publisher, Beth Chapple

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Happy Birthday, NPS

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August 25th is the official 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service. Every year the national parks offer free admission on this day, but for the centennial the free days have been extended through the weekend, to August 28th. Enjoy!

Yellowstone Park is holding a big, sold-out celebration at Arch Park at the North Entrance, with shuttles from Gardiner. If you didn’t get a ticket, you can still participate virtually via Livestream.

If you do have plans to visit Yellowstone any time soon, be sure to keep track of the fires and other construction and road alerts at the official Yellowstone website. Sean Reichard has written several posts recently about the various fires being fought. Here is one of his articles this week: “More trails close as fires grow in Yellowstone National Park.”

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We celebrate Philetus Norris today

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park superintendent Norris

Superintendent Norris, as reproduced in Yellowstone Treasures

August 17, 2016, is the 195th birthday of Philetus W. Norris, who was the eccentric but effective second superintendent of Yellowstone National Park (1877-82). He was a prolific writer; his writings include poetry about the West, a road guide to the park, and excellent superintendent’s reports that are invaluable to historians. Several park features carry his name, including Mount Norris due east of Soda Butte, Norris Geyser Basin, and Norris Pass.

Here is the first half of his 1880 poem “Rustic Bridge and Crystal Falls.”

Will these feet that trip so lightly
O’er this structure rude but strong,
Or these eyes which beam so brightly,
E’er greet scenes more meet for song?

Skipping rill from snowy fountains
Dashing through embowered walls,
Fairy dell ’mid frowning mountains,
Grotto pool and Crystal Falls.

Charming dell, begirt with wonders,
Mighty falls on either hand,
Quiet glen amid their thunders,
Matchless, save in Wonder-Land.

* * * * *

The biographical information was excerpted and slightly modified from Yellowstone Treasures, updated fourth edition, page 205. You can read the whole poem on page 23 of Through Early Yellowstone.

Photo credit: Record Group 79, National Archives and Records Administration, Yellowstone National Park

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