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

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A thank-you to the Tauck tour leaders

Categories: Bio, Winter
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Not having the time quite yet to post my pictures and reactions to the wonderful winter tour I took last week [mid January 2012], today I’ll just essentially quote what I wrote to Brenda and Randy, the leaders of my Tauck tour.

What I liked about the Tauck Winter in Yellowstone Event

1. Being treated like royalty. All the Tauck leaders had no other thought than to make our trip enjoyable, comfortable, informative, and memorable.

Schullery and Karle

Paul Schullery and Marsha Karle

2. Meeting—or almost meeting—fabulous specialists in Yellowstone and the national parks, people who share my engrossment with and possessiveness of that unique place, but most of whom express it much better than I can:

  • Paul Schullery and Marsha Karle (Yellowstone author and artist, respectively)
  • Chico Hot Springs Resort convention center manager Andrew Doolittle
  • Bob Landis (foremost wildlife cinematographer)
  • Jim Halfpenny—who taught us about cold, although his specialty is wildlife ecology
  • Ken Burns (in his short but very moving video of apology for not being there—he is suffering from kidney stones)
  • Dayton Duncan—“Mr. Waterworks” (his children call him this, because he tears up so readily)
  • Chuck Tauck—who escorted me on his arm across the icy path to the Snow Lodge
  • Superintendent Dan Wenk—who graciously listened and agreed with my spiel about the need for shuttle service on Yellowstone’s west side
  • George Bumann, an outstanding Yellowstone Institute instructor and artist, who was our Lamar Valley guide
  • Gerard Baker—whose incredible talents both as speaker and as spokesperson for the rights of Native American Indians had me in tears throughout his talk
  • The young and enthusiastic directors at the Murie Center, Jon Mobeck and Crista Valentino, whom I met in Jackson’s Wildlife Museum.

I could not have arranged to meet all these interesting people on my own.

3. Spending a glorious winter week in “my” park, with all logistics and expenses taken care of in advance.

What I did not like

Leaving.

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Winter Wonderland Trip

Categories: Winter
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The eight-day countdown has started for my winter trip to Yellowstone [2012], and my excitement is building! For a devoted fan like me, each trip is as fulfilling as the last, but it’s been six years since I got to go in winter.

I was getting a little worried that the snowpack would not be sufficient for snowcoaches, but now it is. The Tauck tour—actually two separate groups—I’ll be participating in will require something like twenty snowcoaches, which will make a significant impact on the roads and facilities this time of year.

This is the first time I’ve had the luxury of going along on a tour instead of planning everything myself for a Yellowstone trip. I wouldn’t have thought of doing it, except that it’s a unique opportunity to listen to and meet such Yellowstone authorities as Paul Schullery, Jim Halfpenny , and (the star attractions) Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. Right now I’m even going back over the first two DVDs of their 2009 National Parks TV series to be ready. My company, Granite Peak Publications, is also supplying free copies of Yellowstone Treasures to all the tour guests, which I see as a super promotional opportunity.

We’re going to the best facilities, from Chico Hot Springs north of the park to Spring Creek Ranch near Jackson, and Mammoth and Old Faithful hotels will provide the bulk of our seven-night stay. The pre-trip descriptions make me smile in remembrance of favorite places: Chico has a “turn-of-the-20th-century Victorian main lodge . . . offering travelers access to the area’s natural mineral hot springs since 1900.” (When it was quite new my paternal grandfather died there while seeking medical treatment.) Most summers I get a dip in the pools and a superb dinner there. At the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center “the keynote address is by Ken Burns, who will share stories and insights on Yellowstone and other national parks gathered throughout his years of work on The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” One day we’ll go to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where “the Lower Falls freeze and an ice bridge forms across the canyon.”
. . . .
Have a look at the trip report I wrote when I got back.

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