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YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA

Yellowstone: The Great Caldera

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Road Scholar
Program #13845RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Site elevation 5,260'. Activities take place at elevations ranging from 5,260' to 9,000'.

Equipment Requirements
Bring binoculars, durable water bottle (At high altitudes you are more susceptible to dehydration and altitude sickness. Carrying a water bottle with you and drinking plenty of water is of utmost importance to avoid these sometimes dangerous problems.), sturdy, comfortable shoes and fanny or day pack. Bring your walking stick if you use one.

Itinerary for Sep 8 — Sep 13, 2013

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Type: Motel

Description: Lodgings are located on Gardiner's main street, Park Street, on Yellowstone's northern boundary. Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Roosevelt Arch is three blocks from motel. The Gardiner Arch was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that the single dietary requirement or preference that can be accommodated at this site is vegetarian - no meat. You may wish to bring supplementary items. Questions? Call UM-Western Road Scholar (406) 683-7302.

Contact info:
14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com

Room amenities: Refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, wireless internet, satellite TV, phone, air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Quiet, though one block from downtown. Grassy patio overlooks the mighty Yellowstone River. Within walking distance of shopping, ice cream, deli, lattes. Hair dryers, iron, ironing board available upon request

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: varies
Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, September 08 - Orientation and Introductions
Afternoon: Check-in between 4 and 5 PM.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at nearby restaurant.

Evening: Orientation, Introductions and a look at the week ahead. Be aware that field trip destinations may vary due to instructor's preference. Itineraries may change at the last minute due to weather or road conditions, area closures due to thermal activity, trail closures due to grizzly bear, wolf, bison or other wildlife activity. Remember, the Park is their home! Field days in Yellowstone with your naturalist and on board/on walk interpretation will be an eye opener. Learn about the ecosystem including its wildlife, predator/prey interaction, geology, human history. Find out about bears and wolves, elk and bison. The travel, discovery and interpretation weave together the grand tapestry that is Yellowstone. Here's the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Park - the opportunity to step away from the fast pace of everyday life and seize the moment - a chance to be here now. Enjoy these golden days to explore, learn about and appreciate all that Yellowstone has to offer.

Lodging: Yellowstone River Motel

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Motel

Description: Lodgings are located on Gardiner's main street, Park Street, on Yellowstone's northern boundary. Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Roosevelt Arch is three blocks from motel. The Gardiner Arch was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that the single dietary requirement or preference that can be accommodated at this site is vegetarian - no meat. You may wish to bring supplementary items. Questions? Call UM-Western Road Scholar (406) 683-7302.

Contact info:
14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com

Room amenities: Refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, wireless internet, satellite TV, phone, air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Quiet, though one block from downtown. Grassy patio overlooks the mighty Yellowstone River. Within walking distance of shopping, ice cream, deli, lattes. Hair dryers, iron, ironing board available upon request

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: varies
Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, September 09 - Morning presentation introduces Yellowstone's eco...
Morning presentation introduces Yellowstone's ecosystems then into the park for history and thermal features.

Note: Walk two miles on each of four field days; several moderate walks per day on established trails, asphalt paths, boardwalks and stairs at elevations ranging from 5,260' to 9,000'.

Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.

Morning: Morning presentation lays the foundation with an overview of Yellowstone National Park. Midmorning field trip departure. Today's destinations may target the Mammoth and Norris areas. A visit to the Mammoth area includes the Terraces, Albright Visitor Center and Fort Yellowstone. The step-like platforms of the Terraces are formed by travertine or calcium carbonate. This feature is in a state of constant change as hot water percolates up through ancient limestone deposits, then out across the surface forming rounded, delicate terraces. Exploration will include walking downhill on asphalt paths, boardwalks and up to several hundred stair steps. Visit the Albright Visitor Center and Museum, built by the US cavalry during "Fort Yellowstone" times, which includes history-themed exhibits-Native Americans, mountain men, early exploration, Army days and early National Park Service. Also included: predator-prey themed exhibit, Moran Gallery (reproductions of Thomas Moran watercolors) and the Jackson Gallery (original William Henry Jackson photographs and 1871 Hayden Survey photographs).

Lunch: Sack lunches in the park.

Afternoon: The Fort Yellowstone/Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District "began" in 1872 when Yellowstone National Park was established and immediately came under threat of exploitation by poachers, souvenir hunters and developers. Civilian superintendents suffered from inexperience, lack of funds and manpower. After fourteen years, the US Army was called on for help and the Cavalry was sent in to protect Yellowstone's resources and visitors. The year was 1886. After troops suffered through five harsh winters in a temporary camp and the realization dawned that no end was in sight, a guard house was built in 1891 to support the Cavalry's mission of protection and management. Clapboard buildings were built that same year with more added in 1897. 1909 saw stone buildings built as the fort's capacity grew to 400 men/four troops. The National park Service was established in 1916 and the Cavalry gave control of Yellowstone back to the civilians; their duty concluded completely in 1918. Fort Yellowstone became the administrative center for the Park. Exploration may include Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone's oldest, hottest and most active thermal area. Seismic activity and water fluctuations provide frequent disturbances among its thermal features. Here is Steamboat Geyser, the tallest geyser in the world with eruptions from 300' to 400'. Evidence shows that thermal features have existed in the basin for the last 115,000 years. A scientific drill hole at Norris registered the highest temperature ever recorded in Yellowstone at 459 degrees F. Norris Geyser Basin offers Porcelain Basin, Back Basin and One hundred Springs Plain. Walk a portion of either the Porcelain or Back Basin Trail.

Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.

Evening: Natural History of Yellowstone. *Natural history topics include, but are not limited to, geology, human history, effects of fire, predator/prey relationships, birds, current issues, wolf reintroduction, etc.

Lodging: Yellowstone River Motel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Motel

Description: Lodgings are located on Gardiner's main street, Park Street, on Yellowstone's northern boundary. Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Roosevelt Arch is three blocks from motel. The Gardiner Arch was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that the single dietary requirement or preference that can be accommodated at this site is vegetarian - no meat. You may wish to bring supplementary items. Questions? Call UM-Western Road Scholar (406) 683-7302.

Contact info:
14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com

Room amenities: Refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, wireless internet, satellite TV, phone, air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Quiet, though one block from downtown. Grassy patio overlooks the mighty Yellowstone River. Within walking distance of shopping, ice cream, deli, lattes. Hair dryers, iron, ironing board available upon request

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: varies
Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, September 10 - The Yellowstone Archive and a field day in the Pa...
Note: Today's docent-led tour at the Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center includes periods of extended standing in addition to field trip walks.

Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.

Morning: Morning presentation highlights an aspect of Yellowstone's natural history. Visit the Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center which houses the Yellowstone Archive, a 5.3 million-item collection, the only national park collection affiliated with the National Archives. Under one roof are contained the sumptuous gatherings of 130 years of Yellowstone's history. Tour includes periods of extended standing.

Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant.

Afternoon: Field exploration to Yellowstone's northern range, a wide-open haven for wildlife. Enjoy expanses of open space and expect to see bison, elk, waterfowl, coyotes and more. Consider a magnificent ecosystem and how all its aspects intersect to create a tapestry of life not to be found anywhere else in the nation. Consider wildlife populations, wolf reintroduction, carrying capacity, predator/prey dynamics and more. Review the optics and ethics of wildlife viewing and bring binoculars to put your skills to work; spotting scope available.

Dinner: Picnic suppers in the park.

Evening: Evening return takes advantage of the crepuscular hour.

Lodging: Yellowstone River Motel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Motel

Description: Lodgings are located on Gardiner's main street, Park Street, on Yellowstone's northern boundary. Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Roosevelt Arch is three blocks from motel. The Gardiner Arch was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that the single dietary requirement or preference that can be accommodated at this site is vegetarian - no meat. You may wish to bring supplementary items. Questions? Call UM-Western Road Scholar (406) 683-7302.

Contact info:
14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com

Room amenities: Refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, wireless internet, satellite TV, phone, air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Quiet, though one block from downtown. Grassy patio overlooks the mighty Yellowstone River. Within walking distance of shopping, ice cream, deli, lattes. Hair dryers, iron, ironing board available upon request

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: varies
Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, September 11 - Field day in Yellowstone National Park
Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.

Morning: A day to experience the Great Caldera’s underground plumbing system begins with a journey via Gibbon River, its graceful falls cascading over the caldera rim then crystal clear Firehole River which drains geyser basin country. Find out about cataclysmic volcanic eruptions that laid the foundation for the world’s most diverse and intact collection of geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles. Yellowstone National Park’s 10,000 thermal features – hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles - and over 300 geysers are a reminder of the area’s recent volcanic past. First stop is the Fountain Paint Pot area in Lower Geyser Basin, which, at about 18 square miles, is the largest geyser basin in Yellowstone. Enjoy the sounds,smell and sight of Fountain Paint Pot, named for the yellows, browns and reds of the “pots.” Your boardwalk discovery here offers beauty, grand vistas and geysers including Clepsedra and Fountain, hot springs like Silex Spring and Celestine Pool and fumaroles or steam vents such as Sizzler.

Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.

Afternoon: The destination this afternoon is Old Faithful. If time allows, an eye popping investigation will continue at Midway Geyser Basin, named Hells Half Acre by Rudyard Kipling who visited Yellowstone in 1889. Discover two of the largest hot springs in the world. At 111 feet deep, Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone's deepest hot spring and, at 200 feet wide, the largest in North America. Located nearby on this fabulous boardwalk venture is a dormant geyser, Excelsior Geyser, now considered a productive hot spring, discharging 4050 gallons of boiling water per minute into the Firehole River. On to Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin. The hot water beneath the surface here is over 400 degrees F; it cools to around 200 degrees F as it surges from the geysers. Old Faithful's eruption discharges about 8,500 gallons of hot water as it erupts to heights between 100 and 180 feet every 80 minutes or so. Enjoy Old Faithful then walk a portion of Geyser Hill's meandering boardwalk to view geysers and hot springs including Giantess, Lioness and Grotto. Enjoy the history and parkitecture of the legendary Old Faithful Inn, designed by Robert Reamer and built of local stone and logs during the winter of 1903-04. This treasure is now a National Historic Landmark and one of the few remaining log hotels in the country. Moderate walking, up to two miles per day on asphalt paths, stairs and boardwalks; some hilly areas. Those choosing not to walk may wait on the bus or at the trailheads.

Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.

Evening: Free evening to enjoy the grassy, back patio perched high above the mighty Yellowstone River that intersects the town. Often times, a patient search with binoculars reveals elk, deer, geese, sometimes rabbit across the river, sometimes beaver in the river. Take time to stroll downtown and enjoy the flavor of a small, western Montana gateway community.

Lodging: Yellowstone River Motel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Motel

Description: Lodgings are located on Gardiner's main street, Park Street, on Yellowstone's northern boundary. Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Roosevelt Arch is three blocks from motel. The Gardiner Arch was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that the single dietary requirement or preference that can be accommodated at this site is vegetarian - no meat. You may wish to bring supplementary items. Questions? Call UM-Western Road Scholar (406) 683-7302.

Contact info:
14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com

Room amenities: Refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, wireless internet, satellite TV, phone, air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Quiet, though one block from downtown. Grassy patio overlooks the mighty Yellowstone River. Within walking distance of shopping, ice cream, deli, lattes. Hair dryers, iron, ironing board available upon request

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: varies
Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, September 12 - Field day in Yellowstone National Park
Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.

Morning: Appreciate interpreted walks on moderate terrain - on asphalt paths and stairs - at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area. A walk along the river here, depending on time of year, presents the opportunity to see water ouzel, waterfowl and osprey. Consider the Canyon's geologic story, of ice and fire, glaciers and eruptions. Admire its beautifully tinted canyon walls and experience the roar of 109' Upper Falls and the classically spectacular 308' plunge of waters over Lower Falls. The canyon is 20 miles long, 800' to 1,200' deep and 1,500' to 4,000' wide. Time at the new Canyon Visitor Education Center further reveals Yellowstone's violent geologic past.

Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.

Afternoon: Travel, with interpretation and walks, continues up the Yellowstone River above the falls to the vast Hayden Valley. The Hayden, a former lake bed, is now a shrub and grasslands habitat that supports a myriad of grazing critters from small rodents to large ungulates. And of course, scavengers and predators. Keep watch; you may spot bison, coyote, elk, raven, grizzly bear and birds of prey. Exploration may trace the river to where it flows from Yellowstone Lake near present day Fishing Bridge. Yellowstone Lake, at 7,733’, is North America’s largest high elevation lake at 20 miles long, 14 miles wide and more than 390 feet deep at its deepest point. The lake’s western portion lies within the Yellowstone caldera; recent discoveries reveal significant volcanic activity taking place beneath its surface. View stately Lake Hotel - the "Grand Lady of the Lake" – which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, its centennial year. Architect Robert Reamer engineered its renovation in 1903, adding false balconies, ionic columns and extending the roof.

Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.

Evening: Evening presentation is "Natural History of Yellowstone."

Lodging: Yellowstone River Motel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, September 13 - The denouement. Final presentation and invaluable...
The denouement. Final presentation and invaluable review wrap up your Yellowstone discovery

Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.

Morning: Your instructor/naturalist recaps the learning adventure, summarizing your recently gained knowledge and puts things in perspective. The parts are greater than the whole. You've come full circle. Group photo; bring your camera. Goodbyes and check-out.

Brunch: 11 a.m. grab and go brunch.

Afternoon: Airport shuttle departs at 11:30 AM.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch


Free Time Opportunities


Gardiner, MT
HikingOne trailhead 1/2 mile from lodgings; another 3/4 mile from lodgings.
Horseback RidingTrailrides provided by Rendezvous Outfitters in Gardiner, MT (406) 848-7967.
RaftingScenic float or whitewater rafting on Yellowstone River.
For additional information, visit: www.yellowstoneraft.com
Xanterra Parks and Resorts Xanterra Parks and Resorts is Yellowstone's principal concessioner and includes operations of park's lodging facilities, some campgrounds, restaurants, gift shops, interpretive tours, etc.
For additional information, visit: www.TravelYellowstone.com
Yellowstone AssociationFounded in 1933 to assist with educational, historical and scientific programs that would benefit Yellowstone National Park and its visitors. Operates book sale outlets in park visitor centers which supports expanded naturalist training and programs, finances publication of trail guides, books and pamphlets about the Park, helps with funding for museum exhibits and research equipment. The Yellowstone Association Institute sponsors outdoor courses for all age groups, some of which are especially designed for women, families and children. The Institute's purpose is to explore, understand and appreciate Yellowstone.
For additional information, visit: www.yellowstoneassociation.org
Yellowstone National ParkOfficial website for Yellowstone National Park. Information, planning a visit, history, etc.
For additional information, visit: www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 1 brunch, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
5 Field trips
4 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.7
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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