GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

All posts tagged road logs

This Is When You Really Need “Yellowstone Treasures”

Categories: Trip planning
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Mud Volcano winter

Mud Volcano area in winter. As of today Yellowstone is still covered in snow; most travel by car starts April 21, 2017.

March—while you may still be wishing for spring—is a great month to plan a summer or fall trip to Yellowstone. Here are some ways that Yellowstone Treasures can help you plan, especially if you haven’t been to the park before.

First, if your time is going to be limited to two or three days, in the book’s introduction (pages 17 and 18) there’s a list of Best Sights. An enthusiastic Amazon.com customer last June wrote: “Ms. Chapple’s rating of one star for those sights that were ‘worth taking the time for,’ or two stars for those you ‘must see’ really helped us plan our two day stay. . . .” (But—if at all possible—I highly recommend that you stay a week or even more. You won’t regret it.)

Yellowstone has become so popular—with over 4.2 million visitors last year—that almost all the in-park cabin and hotel rooms are already booked. I have to blame this mostly on the large bus tours that book blocks of rooms a year or more ahead, knowing they can fill up their tours with no trouble. This leaves us individuals and families who plan later in the year with little recourse but to book rooms in gateway places like West Yellowstone, Moran, Cody, Cooke City, and Gardiner. You can, of course, book a space in campgrounds or in the only RV camping spot, if you are so inclined.

Fortunately, the gateway towns have lots of accommodations. You will find phone numbers and email addresses for the chambers of commerce of all the gateway towns in the back of YT, as well as how to contact the park concessionnaire, Xanterra (or Yellowstone Park Lodges). Also, see our Yellowstone Links for the chamber of commerce websites in those places. Online resources such as Booking.com can be a great help with finding rooms outside the park.

A chapter near the beginning of Yellowstone Treasures tells you all about the five different entrances to the park and what you’ll see on their approach roads. The bulk of the book (pages 38 to 301) is what you’ll use before you go, while you’re there, and for reference when you return home. It’s full of detailed maps made and kept up-to-date by my incomparable mapmaker, Linton A. Brown. Here is one from page 200 of the guidebook.
Yellowstone Treasures map

Happy planning!

Photo credit: Janet Chapple, 2012.

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The “Haynes Guides” and “Yellowstone Treasures”

Categories: History
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Reading about a recent Haynes Foundation Grant to Montana State University has inspired me to write the story of how the Haynes Guides came to father Yellowstone Treasures.

 First: the connection

 Back at the end of the last century the director at the Haynes Foundation generously allowed me to use any quotes I wanted from the Haynes Guides in my new guidebook. Now the foundation has given a generous grant to fund scholarships to undergraduate students at Montana State University.

 F. Jay Haynes was the official photographer of Yellowstone Park in its early years. He and his son Jack Haynes owned photo shops in the park. Jack was also a photographer and earned a degree in geology before he returned to work in Yellowstone. They made a good living creating and selling photographs and postcards as well as guidebooks—as the grant announcement tells us, they “opened the wonder of Yellowstone National Park to generations worldwide.” Near the end of Jack’s life, having lost their only daughter at a young age, he and his wife Isabel created the Haynes Foundation to help deserving Montana students at the university (then called a college) in Bozeman.

haynesguidepic

My family used the Haynes Guide (then titled Haynes New Guide: The Complete Handbook of Yellowstone National Park) while living in the park for four summers, 1939 through 1942, and also during visits we made to the park in later years.

Fast forward about a half century to 1995, when a friend of mine named Bob English casually suggested we get together and update the Haynes Guide—last published in 1966. Bob had recently retired from his law practice, was looking for something to occupy his time, and surprised me months after that first suggestion by sending me fifty pages of the guide laboriously typed out on his computer.

 About then I was also thinking of doing something different, having spent all my adult life up to that time as a performer and teacher of cello in Rhode Island. I began investigating whether the type of guide I had in mind existed. A year or so later Bob dropped out of the project. However, I was hooked and began visiting Yellowstone at least once every summer. My husband Bruno Giletti was my “field assistant” and photographer as well as geological expert.

What I Adapted from F. Jay and Jack Haynes

 Here are a few of the ideas I took from the Haynes Guides, in addition to using the text in order to check what was the same and what had changed since 1966. Bob had eventually typed out the complete text, and I owned my own copy of the Guide. Now I own ten different copies, ranging from the 1898 edition to the last.

  • Old Faithful Geyser is shown on the cover.
  • The descriptive text segments begin at the most popular West Entrance and proceed to the other five entrances counterclockwise.
  • Features are located throughout the park with mileage indications.
  • Many maps have animal pictures on them indicating where you may see a black bear, a wolf, or a herd of bison.
  • A thorough index is supplied: the 1966 Haynes Guide has 22 pages of index for a 170–page book.
  • The father and son team published their guide for 70 years.

While Granite Peak Publications is unlikely to duplicate that longevity, we are in fact a mother-daughter team.

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Sharing facts

Categories: History, Science
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Janet’s guidebook reveals many historical and geological facts to the reader. For example, here’s an excerpt from the road log for a point six miles from Fishing Bridge Junction on Yellowstone Lake:

Turnout at Holmes Point, named for W. H. Holmes after the initials W. H. H. were found on a rock here. Holmes was the artist and geologist with the 1872 and 1878 Hayden Surveys.

From this point the road follows Mary Bay of Yellowstone Lake for a while. Mary Bay was named for Mary Force, the girlfriend of Henry Elliot, artist with the 1871 Hayden Survey. Mary’s name remains on the bay, though when Elliot returned home, he married someone else.

The rounded forms and steep sides of Mary Bay attest to the fact that it is an explosion crater. The Mary Bay crater dates back about 13,800 years. The bay has lots of underwater hot springs and the hottest spot in the lake, measured at 212°F (100°C).

What if you have never heard of the Hayden Surveys? The Chronology chapter at the back of Yellowstone Treasures tells you about the 1871 one: “Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden leads the first of three congressionally funded Yellowstone expeditions” (p. 321).

And what if you would like to know more about what an explosion crater is? Look in the Glossary and you will find:

explosion crater
A feature found in volcanic terrains. A sudden pressure drop causes hot water to flash into steam and blast a hole in Earth’s surface.

Sincerely,
The editor, Beth Chapple

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At last! A negative review of “Yellowstone Treasures.”

Categories: Trip planning
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[NEW: See comment at end.–Ed.]
Well, you might be surprised to see an author posting this for all to contemplate. I’ve always figured that if someone bought my guidebook and didn’t like it, they would just give or throw it away and not write about it. Wrong!

Here’s a lady who found she couldn’t plan her trip with this book. I had hoped that the two-and-one-half pages near the beginning where it lists all the Best Sights of Yellowstone (pages 17-19) would be just that kind of assistance to people who had limited time to spend in the park or little patience for all those words I wrote. I’m hoping that she just missed that section but that others will find it useful.

Here’s the one (out of 61 Amazon.com reviews) that got two stars out of five:
Bad for planning ahead. Good if you already have a plan
June 11, 2011
By daniela
This book is probably great if you’ve been to Yellowstone before and know where you’re going. We’ll be going to Yellowstone for the first time this year, and this book is just not useful for planning the trip. The book is a set of road-logs: it tells you what sights of interest you will find as you drive along the Yellowstone roads. There is a lot of information but it is organized according to the road location, which makes it almost impossible to plan what sights you want to see on each day, unless you read the entire book end-to-end. I typically prefer having also cross-lists of points of interest that can be used for planning.

7-14-11 Reader David Reed comments:
My suggestion to Daniella. READ THE ENTIRE BOOK FROM END-TO-END. Before you go to Yellowstone you need to have a good idea of the many, many wonders that await you, and Yellowstone Treasures is the place to find out. The more you know, the better you will be able to formulate a plan. The time you take will be well spent, even though you obviously will not be able to see everything in one or even ten visits. Have a great visit, Yellowstone is the most fabulous place in the world.

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