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Yellowstone: From Colter's Hell to America's Hot Spot

Program Number: 18556RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/12/2013 - 5/18/2013; 5/24/2015 - 5/30/2015; 6/21/2015 - 6/27/2015; 7/5/2015 - 7/11/2015; 8/2/2015 - 8/8/2015; 8/30/2015 - 9/5/2015; 9/20/2015 - 9/26/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Yellowstone, Wyoming
Price starting at: $995.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; Science & Nature Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 16; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Yellowstone National Park’s past and present volcanic and tectonic activity is the foundation of its unique ecosystem and the ecological connections that make it so alluring. Join a park naturalist for a field study showcasing this UNESCO Heritage Site where landforms, together with climate, elevation and time, have resulted in a grand diversity of flora and fauna. Interpretive walks and field trips reveal wildlife, geology, forest, wildflowers and thermal features, as well as the park’s human history and current issues.




Highlights

• Discover the geological reasons why Quake Lake was formed in less than a minute and why Yellowstone Lake is tilting southward.
• Investigate effects of the volcanic and chemical phenomena which created the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
• Explore hot springs, geysers, mudpots, fumaroles and their surrounding hydrothermal life zone within the geyser basins of Yellowstone.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles per day over uneven terrain, boardwalks, some stairs.




Date Specific Information

5-12-2013

All accommodations will be in West Yellowstone, MT, the west gateway to Yellowstone National Park.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



5-24-2015

This date has all accommodations out side of Yellowstone National Park, with 5 fields traveling in the park. This offers a less expensive date of this program.



6-21-2015, 7-5-2015

This date offers all accommodations inside Yellowstone National Park.



8-2-2015

This date offers all accommodations inside Yellowstone National Park
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



8-30-2015, 9-20-2015

This date offers all accommodations inside Yellowstone National Park.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Mammoth Hot Springs, 2 nights; coach to Old Faithful, 1 night; coach to Lake Station, 1 night; coach to Mammoth Hot Springs, 2 nights; departure.



Coordinated by University of Montana Western.




Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Yellowstone is the world's first national park, established in 1872, and is famous for its geysers and thermal features as well as its plentiful and diverse flora and fauna. There is also considerable human history within the park, from the early explorers and settlers to the historic park lodges.



Accommodations
Accommodations will be in Yellowstone's historic hotels at various locations throughout Yellowstone Park.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Catherine Raven

A resident of the Greater Yellowstone region for 18 years, Dr. Catherine Raven began her career as a backcountry ranger at Glacier and Mt. Rainier National Parks. She later received her Ph.D. in biology from Montana State University while working as a biological technician in North Cascades and Voyageurs National Parks. Her high school Forestry textbook was published in 2006 and she has since published natural history essays in American Scientist, American Mensa and Montana magazines.
 
Leslie Stoltz

Raised and educated in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Leslie Stoltz now lives in Big Sky, Montana, surrounded by the wild places that she loves. Her decade of work for the National Park Service in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks in the areas of research and education provided a wonderful foundation for her career as a teacher and park expert. Since the early 1990s, Leslie has worked for a variety of companies and non-profit organizations, teaching classes and leading trips in national parks and wild areas throughout the American West. Farther afield, she has led educational trips to Nepal, Bhutan, Tanzania, Botswana, Ecuador, and Mexico. Leslie also runs a non-profit with a mission to keep kids connected to the outdoors though scholarship opportunities for outdoor learning experiences.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Yellowstone Lodge
  West Yellowstone, MT 6 nights
 Yellowstone Lodge
Type: Motel
  Description: A modern, comfortable motel in Yellowstone National Park's West Gateway Community, the lodge is within walking distance of the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, IMAX Theatre and downtown. Remember, you are experiencing the atmosphere of a small, rural community and meal options are naturally limited. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that the single dietary requirement or preference that can be accommodate 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: 251 South Electric Street
West Yellowstone, MT 59758 USA
phone: 877-239-9298
web: www.yellowstonelodge.com
  Room amenities: Individually controlled heat and air-conditioning, Cable TV, coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, Wi-Fi, hair dryer, clock radio, telephone with data port and voice mail, iron/ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Heated indoor swimming pool and whirlpool spa, coin-operated guest laundry, deluxe complimentary breakfast, free wireless Internet available in lobby/laptop available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Varies. Seasonal rates; call for information (877) 239-9298.
  Check in time: 4:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Varies. Seasonal rates; call for information (877) 239-9298.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4-5 pm registration at hotel You will be staying at Yellowstone Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after continental breakfast (6-9 a.m.); airport shuttle departs at 8 a.m. You will be staying at Yellowstone Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Please bring a Golden Age, Senior or National Park pass if you have one.
  Parking availability:
Free parking at motel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  West Yellowstone, MT
  Nearest city or town:  Bozeman
  Nearest highway: State HWY 191
  Nearest airport:  Gallatin Field 10 miles west of Bozeman
  From End of Program
  Location: West Yellowstone, MT
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Bozeman, MT

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $68; call for current rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

89 miles.

   

Shuttle must be arranged at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938. Group shuttle departs airport at 1:30 pm. In order to take advantage of the group shuttle, you must arrive before 1:00 pm on Sunday.

 

Bozeman, MT

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $68; call for current rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

89 miles.

   

Return shuttle must be arranged at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938. Group shuttle departs site at 8:00 am Saturday. Outside of the above scheduled times, individual transportation (not at group rate) can be reserved through Greater Valley Taxi 406-388-7938 or Karst Stage 406-556-3540 (72 hours notice required). Car rental and drop-off are available at the Bozeman airport; drop-off is not available in West Yellowstone.

 
Driving Directions
  Billings Drive west 142 miles on I-90 to Bozeman; continue west on I-90 10 miles to Belgrade, then south 91 miles on US HWY 191 to West Yellowstone.
  Bozeman, MT From Bozeman airport, travel south from Belgrade, continue south 90 miles on US HWY 191 to West Yellowstone.
  Cody, WY Roads in the park may or may not be open in May - depends on winter snows/snow removal schedule; call 307 344-2117 for road conditions; road closures, etc. Travel east into Yellowstone Park 80 miles on HWYs 20 and 14/16 past Fishing Bridge area to junction. Turn north here to Canyon (16 miles). Travel 26 miles west from Canyon to Madison Junction; turn west at Madison Junction and travel west 14 miles to West Yellowstone.
  Jackson, WY Roads in the park may or may not be open in May - depends on winter snows/snow removal schedule; call 307 344-2117 for road conditions; road closures, etc. Travel north 86 miles on HWY 89/287 (slow miles as most of travel is through two national parks with speed limit averaging from 15-40 miles per hour) to West Thumb, then west and north 33 miles to Madison Junction then travel west 14 miles to West Yellowstone.
  Livingston, MT Travel east on I-90 36 miles to Belgrade. Drive south 90 miles on US HWY 191 to West Yellowstone.
  Missoula, MT Drive east 202 miles on I-90 to Belgrade, then south 90 miles on US HWY 191 to West Yellowstone.
Elevation Note: Lodgings at 6,666'; program activities to 8,000'.

Equipment Requirements: Bring binoculars, durable water bottle, fanny or day pack, comfortable, sturdy walking shoes or boots and a walking stick if you use one.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome!
(Sunday, May 12)
   
 Afternoon: Check-in from 4-5 pm in Yellowstone Lodge Lobby
 Dinner: Catered dinner served in Yellowstone Lodge Conference Room
 Evening: Welcome, Introductions and Orientation in Yellowstone Lodge Conference Room
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Begin a geological journey into Yellowstone National Park focusing on geology as the foundation for so much of what is beautiful, inspiring, and powerful about Yellowstone.
(Monday, May 13)

Note: Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.



   
 Breakfast: Complimentary expanded continental breakfast at Yellowstone Lodge
 Morning: An overview of the Yellowstone area puts things in perspective. Review and discuss geologic processes that have shaped Yellowstone's landscape through the ages. Consider plate movement, the Yellowstone hot spot and how the Park's unique ecosystem and diverse habitats are a direct result of glaciations, tectonic and volcanic activity.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant. Walk 3-5 blocks
 Afternoon: Five field days in Yellowstone offer an exploration of a portion of Yellowstone's 2.2 million acres where wonder awaits around each bend in the road or trail. Exploration will begin as motorcoach transports group to the Madison River Canyon Earthquake area where on August 17, 1959 an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale caused a massive landslide which formed Quake Lake. The dynamics and physical history of the earth changed dramatically in less than a minute and moved 80 million tons of rock in this area.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening presentation addresses the effects of fire on the ecosystem and includes discussion of Yellowstone's fires of 1988.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Prepare for adventure at the Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs
(Tuesday, May 14)

Note: Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant.
 Morning: Travel to Norris Geyser Basin to venture on a walking exploration here at Yellowstone's oldest, hottest and most active thermal area. The basin is situated at the intersection of three major fault lines; evidence shows that thermal features have existed here for the last 115,000 years. A scientific drill hole at Norris registered the highest temperature ever recorded in Yellowstone at 459 degrees F. Walk a portion of either the Porcelain or Back Basin Trail.
 Lunch: Enjoy sack lunches in route to Mammoth Hot Springs.
 Afternoon: The exploration will continue with walks on the Mammoth Terraces, discovering the large complex of hot springs on a hill adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. Discover how the ever changing travertine terraces have been created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate. 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), Jackson Gallery (original William Henry Jackson photographs and 1871 Hayden Survey photographs), theater, information desk and Yellowstone Association sales area (good selection of Yellowstone-related books, also prints, note cards, games, films, photographs, maps, etc.) Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.
 Dinner: Picnic dinner in the park.
 Evening: Journey back to West Yellowstone during crepuscular hour and keep watch for wildlife!
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Time to explore Old Faithful Geyser Basin and its hot springs, fumaroles, geysers and mudpots and then Yellowstone Lake, North America's largest high elevation lake .
(Wednesday, May 15)

Note: Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.



   
 Breakfast: Complimentary expanded continental breakfast at Yellowstone Lodge
 Morning: Early departure to Old Faithful for more adventure. Expect color, pungent sulfur, hissing, bubbling, spouting and sizzling as you take the morning to further explore the Upper Geyser Basin where the world's best known and most beloved hydrothermal feature, Old Faithful, holds forth offering thousands of gallons of water and billowing steam, gushing skyward with each eruption. Enjoy a Geyser Hill walk in this land like no other, this land that holds one half of the world's geothermal features - geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles! Interpretation reveals the secrets of geyser basin plumbing. Bring camera, binoculars and a walking stick if you use one.
 Lunch: Enjoy sack lunches in the park.
 Afternoon: Depart for Yellowstone Lake via Craig Pass and West Thumb Geyser Basin. West Thumb is the largest geyser basin on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. It is speculated that its heat source is only 10,000 feet down! Thermal features here extend under the surface of the lake as well as along the shore; several underwater geysers were discovered in the early 1990s. Interpretation and exploration reveal geologic secrets. Glacial till! Vent! Dome! Magma chamber! Tilt! Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant
 Evening: Free evening
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Prepare for wonder! Travel over the top half of the lower loop of Yellowstone to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
(Thursday, May 16)

Note: Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant.
 Morning: The expedition continues as you travel to the mighty Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, 20 miles long, 800' to 1,200' deep and 1,500' to 4,000' wide. The visit will begin at the Canyon Visitor Education Center, which features exhibits on Yellowstone's super volcano. A walk along a trail of the canyon will reveal extraordinary colors of muted scarlet, pale yellows, greens and blue created by hot water acting on volcanic rock. Experience close views of both 109' Upper and 308' Lower Falls and scenic overlooks to stun the senses. Examine the canyon's geologic story - of glaciers, a volcanic eruption, lava flows and huge ice dams. Watch for ospreys soaring on high; view their nests, five to six feet wide, built on pinnacles towering among the canyon walls. As an early explorer wrote, "There are perhaps other canyons longer and deeper than this one, but surely none combining grandeur and immensity with peculiarity of formation and profusion of volcanic or chemical phenomena." Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.
 Lunch: Enjoy sack lunches in the park.
 Afternoon: The days excursion will continue with breathtaking vistas of a big country heading up Dunraven Pass, continuing through a magnificent landscape to Mt. Washburn and back to West Yellowstone.
 Dinner: Dinner local restaurant
 Evening: Cruising and walking among Yellowstone's life zones with ongoing interpretation provides understanding of how a landscape's "geologic bones", combined with climate and elevation, result in splendid and diverse vegetation and wildlife. Find out about some of Yellowstone's seldom seen critters and the habitats that support them.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Prepare for another day in Paradise visiting the Tower area and Lamar Valley.
(Friday, May 17)

Note: Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.



   
 Breakfast: Complimentary expanded continental breakfast at Yellowstone Lodge
 Morning: Exloration will head to the north half of the upper loop of Yellowstone to the Tower area. Your naturalist discusses Yellowstone's "forests of stone." Appreciate Tower Fall and Tower Creek's graceful 132-foot plunge among volcanic pinnacles. This area is known for its black bear habitat. While sightings cannot be guaranteed, you'll want to keep your eyes "peeled" and your binoculars handy.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the park
 Afternoon: A fitting final destination to your week of discovery is a visit to Lamar Valley's beautiful, wide-open reaches. Here is rich habitat and its wealth of wildlife. Here are the hoofed, winged, clawed, antlered and horned ones. Here is evidence of an ancient flood that scoured the valley. Here is diverse vegetation of grasses, shrubs, willows, cottonwoods, aspens; here are coniferous timbered ridges, sagebrush covered hills, mixed forest habitat and rich, riparian areas. Stay alert and keep binoculars at the ready. You'll see pronghorn, elk, bison, meadowlarks and sandhill cranes; perhaps beaver, moose and wolf. Expect walks up to 3 miles per field day.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
 Evening: Closing, Reflections and Goodbyes.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Farewell!
(Saturday, May 18)
   
 Breakfast: 6-9 a.m. complimentary expanded continental breakfast at Yellowstone Lodge
 Morning: Airport shuttle departs at 8 a.m.

Free Time Opportunities
 
  West Yellowstone, MT Yellowstone Historic Center
Organized as a nonprofit organization to protect, preserve, and display the rich travel history of Yellowstone National Park. For additional information, visit www.yellowstonehistoriccenter.org/home.php
  Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a "not-for-profit, AZA Accredited facility dedicated to providing visitors to the Yellowstone area an opportunity to learn about, view and ultimately appreciate the grizzly bear and gray wolf". For additional information, visit www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.com/
  Playmill Theatre
Providing live theatre in West Yellowstone since 1964. For additional information, visit www.playmill.com/
  Yellowstone National Park
Please see the official web site for Yellowstone National Park. For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm
  West Yellowstone Visitor Center
Provides local, area, Yellowstone National Park and statewide travel information. Includes national park service desk and presentations. For additional information, visit destinationyellowstone.com
  Free Heel and Wheel
Bike and ski rentals available www.freeheelandwheel.com/ For additional information, visit www.freeheelandwheel.com/
  Rendezvous Ski Trails
Rendezvous Ski Trails consist of over 35 kilometers of gently rolling, beautifully groomed trails that wind through tall stands of lodgepole pine and open meadows on US Forest Service ground. West Yellowstone winters offer reliable snow for a rewarding Nordic skier's experience. For the summer visitor, the trails offer a great place to walk, hike, run or mountain bike. Be aware that you may encounter wildlife such as bear, moose or elk so stay alert and be prepared. For additional information, visit www.rendezvousskitrails.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness


Author: Paul Schullery


Description: Eloquent, elegant, truthful and practical - an environmental history of America's best idea, Yellowstone.



Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country


Author: William Fritz & Robert Thomas


Description: Updated, classic roadside geology book for the Yellowstone Region explains current geological theories.



Restoring a Presence: American Indians and Yellowstone National Park


Author: Peter Nabokov and Lawrence Loendorf


Description: This first comprehensive account of Indians in and around Yellowstone corrects more than a century of ignorance. Detailed here is Yellowstone's native peoples and their story of a long engagement with a remarkable landscape.



To Save the Wild Bison: Life on the Edge in Yellowstone


Author: Mary Ann Franke


Description: The author brings clarity and revelation to one of Yellowstone's most complex struggles by tracing the history of bison and humans into the 19th century and further into the national parks era. Here's discussion of bison management and park policy - the battle over brucellosis, snowmobiles and groomed winter roads, desires of Native Americans, bison and predators.



Windows into the Earth: The Geologic Story of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks


Author: Robert B. Smith and Lee J. Siegel


Description: Find out about the forces that shaped and continue to shape the Greater Yellowstone-Teton region. Illustrations and driving tours of both parks help visitors enjoy and understand the Earth's creative forces in this wondrous region.



After the Fires: The Ecology of Change in Yellowstone National Park


Author: Linda Wallace, Editor


Description: The ravaging fires of 1988 caused many scientists to predict long-term devastation which did not come to pass. This scientific summary by wildlife biologists, ecosystem and forest scientists and landscape ecologists discusses the many things that changed and did not change in the Yellowstone area. Realize the role of fire in the ecosystem and the resiliency of nature.



Seen and unseen: Discovering the Microbes of Yellowstone


Author: K. Sheehan, D. Patterson, B. Dicks, J. Henson


Description: Discover the nearly unexplored world of Yellowstone's microbial flora and fauna - bacteria that color scalding hot springs, algae that thrive in acid, microbes that allow bison to digest grass and microbial mats in every color of the rainbow.



Decade of the Wolf, revised and updated edition: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone


Author: Douglas W. Smith and Gary Ferguson


Description: Research and storytelling meld to document wolf recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wolf biologist, Smith, and nature writer, Ferguson, provide an inside look at the Yellowstone Wolf Recovery Project ten years after the controversial decision was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to reintroduce wolves into the park. Smith, wolf project leader who has worked with the Yellowstone Wolf Project since its inception, has studied wolves for 25 years. Ferguson, whose writing largely arises from intimate experiences, followed through the seasons, the first 14 wolves released into Yellowstone National Park. Their collaboration offers hard facts and 'impressionistic portraits of individual wolves that reveal their epic lives full of struggle and conquest.' Here is the history of the return of the top predator to Yellowstone.



The Sibley Guide to Birds


Author: David Allen Sibley


Description: Sibley, a talented painter, offers this wonderful, data-packed color guide with range maps and detailed descriptions of songs and calls. This book is perfect for field trips with short walks and may be too heavy for some to take to the field in which case it can await back in the car.



Yellowstone and the Great West: Journals, Letters and Images from the 1871 Hayden Expedition


Author: Marlene Deahl Merril, editor


Description: Daily record of Ferdinand Hayden's historic 1871 scientific expedition to the Yellowstone basin. This expedition's findings influenced Congress to establish Yellowstone as the world's first national park. The expedition made many scientific discoveries as well as producing the earliest on-site images of Yellowstone by photographer, William Henry Jackson, and guest artist, Thomas Moran.



Interpreting the Landscape: Recent and Ongoing Geology of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks


Author: John M. Good and Kenneth L. Pierce


Description: Text, photography and graphics explain how both parks were formed - the product of volcanic eruptions, profound glaciation and earth movements. The authors describe 'how processes originating half way to the earth's center seem to be the primary force which created volcanic fires, glacial ice and the mountain ranges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.'





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