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Winter Ventures in Yellowstone Country

Program Number: 16839RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/9/2014 - 2/14/2014; 2/1/2015 - 2/6/2015; 2/8/2015 - 2/13/2015; 2/15/2015 - 2/20/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: West Yellowstone, Montana
Price starting at: $1,045.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Winter Sports; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Venture into Yellowstone Country for winter's sparkling whiteness, steaming thermals and ice-rimmed rivers. Ride a snowcoach to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and encounter eons of geologic processes. Learn to ride a snowmobile on park roads, view diverse habitats and observe bison, waterfowl, bald eagles and coyotes. Experience churning geothermal activity at Old Faithful and Fountain Paint Pots, discover animal tracks and analyze sign and learn winter sports and skills on informative, naturalist-led adventures.




Highlights

• A snowmobile excursion into sulfur-scented geyser basins showcases Old Faithful's steaming glory, plopping mudpots, fumaroles and sizzling hot springs.
• Ride a snowcoach to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where you’re met with sheer, painted walls and the ice-columned majesty of Lower Falls.
• Other over-the-snow ventures on cross-country skis and snowshoes reveal a landscape locked in winter's frozen embrace.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to four blocks to meals and activities on snow-packed sidewalks. One full day aboard two-person snowmobiles. Snowmobiling is a strenuous activity. Snowshoe and ski up to three miles each on moderate trails outside the park. Elevations of 6,666–7,800 feet.



Coordinated by University of Montana Western.




West Yellowstone

West Yellowstone is a lively community hugging the western edge of the nation’s first park. The town is surrounded by forests and rangeland and is an ideal entry point into a land of incredible beauty created by a violent geologic past.



Accommodations
Modern, comfortable motel in Yellowstone's West Gateway Community, within walking distance of Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, downtown.

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

Lee Harry earned a master's degree in forestry with an emphasis in wildlands fire ecology. He enjoyed a forester's career with the U.S. Forest Service where his roles included planting, tending and harvesting trees, applying prescribed fire, and suppressing wild fires. Lee has a particular interest in bark beetles and the white pine blister rust that is impacting high mountain ecology. Now retired, Lee enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, reading and traveling as much as possible. Lee lives on a ranch near Bozeman, Montana though he is often found - or not found - exploring the Great Beyond.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Yellowstone Lodge
  West Yellowstone, MT 5 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 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: 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, 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 for registration at hotel. You will be staying at Yellowstone Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after 11 am grab and go brunch. Airport shuttle departs at 11:30 am. You will be staying at Yellowstone Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. A liability release waiver is required by the outfitter for participation in the snowmobiling component of this program. Please bring a Golden Age, Senior or National Parks 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, 89 miles to the north.
  Nearest highway: US HWYs 191, 287 and 20.
  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 $81; 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 2 pm. Meet Greater Valley Taxi at the large bear statue near the luggage carousel inside the airport between 1:30 and 2:00 pm. In order to take advantage of the group shuttle rate, you must arrive before 1:00 pm on Sunday and depart after 3:00 pm on Friday. Arriving in Bozeman a day early or staying an extra day may be more economical than booking individual transportation.

 

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 $81; call for current rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

89 miles.

   

Reservations must be made at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938; you may be asked to leave a message. Group shuttle departs West Yellowstone at 11:30 am. 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 (3 days 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 Drive west 10 miles on I-90 to Belgrade then south 91 miles on US HWY 191 to West Yellowstone.
  Idaho Falls Drive 95 miles north on US HWY 20 to junction with State HWY 87; continue eastward 10 miles to West Yellowstone.
  Missoula Drive east 192 miles on I-90 to Belgrade then south 91 miles on US HWY 191 to West Yellowstone.
Elevation Note: Lodgings and activities at altitudes ranging from 6,666' to 7800'.

Equipment Requirements: Warm clothing and snow boots required. Snowmobile clothing provided (includes helmets and boots); cross-country skis/boots/poles and snowshoes provided.
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, February 9)
   
 Afternoon: Check in at lodgings between 4 and 5 pm.
 Dinner: Catered dinner on site.
 Evening: Orientation, Introductions and preview of the week's activities
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introduction to the Yellowstone area includes its ecosystem, the volcano and an afternoon snowshoe walk on nearby trail for winter ecology.
(Monday, February 10)

Note: Three hour snowshoe walk on moderate terrain at 6,666'.



   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast on site.
 Morning: Morning overview introduces the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and history of the Yellowstone volcano.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Afternoon: Experience winter ecology via interpreted snowshoe walk on moderate terrain at the edge of town on Riverside Trail. Discuss animal tracks, scat and sign; what do they tell us about critters' winter behavior? Consider habits and habitat. Snowshoes provided; no experience necessary. Less active option is exploration at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.
 Dinner: Catered dinner on site.
 Evening: Natural history topics include, but are not limited to, caldera geology, human history, wildlife, habitat, effects of fire, predator/prey relationships, birds, current issues, wolf reintroduction, etc.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: A snowcoach journey into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area.
(Tuesday, February 11)

Note: Full-day, 80 mile round trip snowcoach journey in heated, over-the-snow vehicles at elevations from 6,666' to 7,734'; several moderate walks on slippery, snow-packed trails, boardwalks and stairs.



   
 Breakfast: Catered breakfast on site.
 Morning: Full day, naturalist-led snowcoach adventure into Yellowstone Park to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area via heated, over-the-snow vehicles. Thread among the park's breathtaking winter beauty along Madison and Gibbon Rivers to Norris Junction, then eastward toward Canyon. Several moderate walks to scenic overlooks on slippery, snow-packed trails, boardwalks and stairs.
 Lunch: Sack lunches at Old Faithful.
 Afternoon: Appreciate time at Canyon where winter's white and iron grip only adds to the magnificence - Upper Fall's roaring, 109' plunge and Lower Fall's classically spectacular 308' sweep into ice-swathed depths. Here, beautifully tinted walls result from hot water's action on volcanic rock. Consider an expanse of space and beauty that one can only begin to imagine. Enjoy photo opportunities and trailside interpretation.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Evening: Wolves of Yellowstone.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Discuss wildlife of Yellowstone then an afternoon of a cross country ski exploration on Rendezvous Trail
(Wednesday, February 12)

Note: Three hour cross country ski trek on moderate terrain at 6,666'.



   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast on site.
 Morning: Morning visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery center give participants the opportunity to consider Yellowstone's wildlife - predator and prey, habitat requirements, winter range, populations and more. The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is dedicated to providing visitors to the Yellowstone area the unique opportunity to learn about, view and ultimately appreciate the grizzly bear and gray wolf and to empower visitors with knowledge about grizzlies and wolves through educational programs.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Afternoon: Beginner cross country ski trek on nearby Rendezvous Trail System which encompasses 30 kilometers of groomed trails on gently rolling terrain in and out of lodgepole pine forest and open meadows. Discuss winter ecology; tracks and scat. Cross country skis provided; no experience necessary. Less active option is natural history film at the Yellowstone Imax Theatre.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Evening: Free evening.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: A snowmobile venture into Yellowstone to Old Faithful.
(Thursday, February 13)

Note: Full-day, 60 mile round trip snowmobile adventure on two-passenger, cleaner, quieter, four-stroke machines at elevations from 6,666' to 7,365'; several moderate walks on slippery, snow-packed trails, boardwalks and stairs.



   
 Breakfast: Catered breakfast on site.
 Morning: Guided, full day snowmobile field adventure (60 miles round trip) into Yellowstone National Park to Old Faithful via Firehole Canyon, Lower and Midway Geyser Basins. Enjoy riding as driver or passenger on two-person snowmobile, exhilarating among breathtaking wonders of the Great Caldera! Several walks among steamy, sulfur-scented Old Faithful and Lower Geyser Basins. Beehive, Grand, Lion, Fountain Paint Pot, Clepsydra - a poetry of seething, pluming steam and spray and mud. Moderate walking on slippery, snow-packed trails, boardwalks and stairs among colors, scents and sounds of pale chocolate, yellow, orange, green and blue, sulfur, bubble, hiss and steam. Imagine! Being here to explore a land like no other, a land that holds one half of the world's geothermal features - geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles! Imagine.
 Lunch: Sack lunches at Canyon.
 Afternoon: Adventure continues through Yellowstone's winter whiteness; expect to see bison, elk and waterfowl, perhaps coyote and bald eagle. Swan sighting possible along the Madison River. What next! Discovery beckons and awaits around each bend of the road! Snowmobiling is a very strenuous activity. Snowmobiling clothing provided.
 Dinner: Catered dinner on site.
 Evening: Natural history topics include, but are not limited to, caldera geology, human history, wildlife, habitat, effects of fire, predator/prey relationships, birds, current issues, wolf reintroduction, etc.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Winter Ventures in Yellowstone Country: Finale
(Friday, February 14)
   
 Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast on site.
 Morning: Week review; Q & A Winter ventures in the Yellowstone area - learning, seeing, discussing, experiencing! The mind spins and reels with new knowledge: predator-prey dynamics, winter range, geology of the Great Caldera, wolf reintroduction, life in seething hot pools. The mind spins and reels with new visions and scents: steamy-breathed elk and black-wooled bison, coyote tracks and moose scat in snow, vivid skies, waterfowl on frigid water, sulfur-scented fumaroles, of soaring geysers, ice-columned waterfalls. The mind spins and reels with winter sounds: crunch of snowshoe, swish of ski, creak of snow boots, roar of thundering water, stillness of winter, pop of brittle branches, grunt of bison, call of raven, the great silence of wild country. One has explored national forest land on Yellowstone's western border and ventured into Yellowstone National Park to be introduced to the greatest predator of all - winter. Morning wrap-up ties up loose ends, answers questions and brings the learning adventure to a gratifying conclusion. Group photo; bring your camera.
 Brunch: 11 am grab and go brunch. Airport group shuttle departs 11:30 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  West Yellowstone, MT West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce
Provides local, area, Yellowstone National Park and statewide tourist and travel information. For additional information, visit www.westyellowstonechamber.com
  Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
Wildlife park and educational facility. For additional information, visit www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.com/
  Yellowstone National Park
Please see the official web site for Yellowstone National Park. For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm
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


Yellowstone's Ski Pioneers: Peril and Heroism on the Winter Trail


Author: Paul Schullery


Description: The book chronicles historic army winter ski patrols, wildlife stories and other ski adventures as protagonists tell their own stories. The author interprets the social climate and attitudes of the times to present Yellowstone in the 1870s and 80s when the nearest town was several days travel away and summer tourists were rare. Poachers were the area's primary winter visitors during an era when wildlife destruction was occurring throughout the American West. The book places the role of present-day park management in perspective. It interprets our history and explains how and why park policies have evolved and provides insight into wildlife conservation and policy and winter travel in Yellowstone.



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.



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.



Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country


Author: William Fritz & Robert Thomas


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



Yellowstone Place Names, 2nd edition


Author: Lee Whittlesey


Description: Yellowstone National Park Historian's well-researched and entertaining reference source for information on many of Yellowstone's place names and their origins.



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.





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