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Greater Yellowstone: Heart of the Continent

Program Number: 2809RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/8/2014 - 6/16/2014; 8/3/2014 - 8/11/2014; 8/10/2014 - 8/18/2014;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Jackson, Wyoming
Price starting at: $2,649.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks
Meals: 23; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Indian legends, tales of mountain men and accounts of early explorers described a land unlike any other on earth — called "the heart of the continent, where hidden pulses can be seen and felt to beat." At the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. On this adventure, we focus on aspects of the parks that make them great — history, geology, wildlife and thermal features.




Highlights

• A Snake River scenic float trip offers pristine riparian habitat, exquisite views of the Teton Mountain Range, natural history interpretation and wildlife.
• Learn about fisheries and current volcanic activity happening beneath the waters of Yellowstone Lake, so large it often creates its own weather.
• Learn how cataclysmic volcanic eruptions laid the foundation for the largest concentration of geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles in the world.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day.



Elevations of 5,000-9,000 feet.




Date Specific Information

6-8-2014, 8-3-2014, 8-10-2014

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Jackson, 1 night; coach to Teton National Park, 2 nights; coach to Yellowstone National Park, 4 nights; coach to Jackson, 1 night; departure.



Coordinated by University of Montana Western.




Old Faithful

America’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful is located in Yellowstone National Park and is known for the reliability of its eruptions. It was named in 1871 by the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition party. The Old Faithful Historic District within Yellowstone includes the geyser and the Old Faithful Inn, a rustic resort that opened in 1904.



Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake is a large lake in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. The lake is up to 15 miles long, seven miles wide and 438 feet deep. Several species of trout live in the lake and moose, elk, and bison wander the surrounding area. In 1955 John D. Rockefeller, a frequent visitor to the Tetons, built the Jackson Lake Lodge on the lake’s shores.



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.



Jackson (Wyoming)

Jackson is a major gateway for visitors to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as well as a world-class ski resort. Located in Jackson Hole Valley, near the Idaho state line, the town has a strong western character and is surrounded by scenic beauty. Big game such as elk, moose and bison are a common sight beyond the town limits.



Accommodations
Jackson: Motel. Parks: Historic lodgings.

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

With degrees in physical geography and natural resources planning and management, Roger Anderson has lived and worked as a ranger and naturalist in several national parks and recreation areas. His career with the National Park Service allowed him to serve in Yellowstone, directing naturalist programs and managing its cultural resources. With his wife, Carol, Roger co-authored "Yellowstone: The Story Behind the Scenery" and "A Ranger's Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes."
 
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
   49er Inn and Suites
  Jackson, WY 1 night
   Jackson Lake Lodge Cabins
  Jackson Lake 2 nights
   Old Faithful Snow Lodge
  Old Faithful 2 nights
   Lake Hotel
  Lake Station 2 nights
   49er Inn and Suites
  Jackson, WY 1 night
 49er Inn and Suites
Type: Motel
  Description: The 49er is centrally located downtown, on Jackson's Town Square. A short walk through the elk antler arch are galleries, shopping, unique western boutiques and fine dining.
  Contact info: 330 West Pearl
Jackson, WY 83001 USA
phone: 307-733-7550
web: www.townsquareinns.com
  Room amenities: Coffee maker, iron/ironing board, wireless internet
  Facility amenities: Deluxe continental breakfast, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, sauna and fitness room.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies Seasonal rates; call 49er Inn and Suites (307) 733-7550 for information.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: varies Seasonal rates; call 49er Inn and Suites (307) 733-7550 for information.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Jackson Lake Lodge Cabins
Type: Cabin
  Description: Very well maintained, nicely furnished cabins snuggled in a pine forest, within walking distance of Jackson Lake Lodge and Lodge Dining Room.
  Contact info: HWY 191
Moran, WY 83013 USA
phone: 307-543-3005
web: www.gtlc.com
  Room amenities: iron and hair dryer by request.
  Facility amenities: At lodge is pool, internet access, laundry facility, dining room, lounge, viewing area with scopes, specialty shops, art, safe on request.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Old Faithful Snow Lodge
Type: Hotel
  Description: Built in the style of classic national park lodges, Old Faithful Snow Lodge combines modern comfort with rustic timber construction within viewing distance of Old Faithful Geyser
  Contact info: 1 Grand Loop Road
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 USA
phone: 307-545-4600
web: www.TravelYellowstone.com
  Facility amenities: lounge, bar, dining room, cafe, physically disabled services
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Lake Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Known as the "Grand Lady of the Lake" with its gables and Ionic columns, Lake Hotel overlooks Yellowstone Lake. Hictorically decorated rooms. Relaxation in spacious, glassed in, Great Room offers grand view of beautiful Yellowstone Lake.
  Contact info: Grand Loop Road
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 USA
phone: 307-344-2107
web: www.travelyellowstone.com
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and lounge on site. Safe available. Modem capability.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4 and 5 pm for registration at Inn. You will be staying at 49er Inn and Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Independent departures after continental breakfast at Inn. You will be staying at 49er Inn and Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. A liability waiver is required by the outfitter for participation in the rafting component of the program. Please bring a Golden Age, Senior or National Parks pass if you have one.
  Required innoculations:
Yes: If allergic to bee stings, be sure to bring bee sting kit; program takes place in isolated areas.
  Parking availability:
airport parking is $5/day parking at hotel no charge
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Jackson, WY
  Nearest city or town:  Idaho Falls
  Nearest highway: Hwy 26 (from I-15)
  Nearest airport:  Jackson, WY
  From End of Program
  Location: Jackson, WY
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Jackson, WY

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
All Tran
phone: 307-733-1700
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $17.00; call for current rates.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes. 

 

Distance:

 

7 miles

   

Call All Tran at least two days in advance to book a seat on the shuttle.

 

Jackson, WY

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
All Tran
phone: 307-733-1700
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $17.00; call for current rates.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes. 

 

Distance:

 

7 miles

   

Call All Tran at least two days in advance to book a seat on the shuttle.

 
Driving Directions
  Butte Drive south 154 miles on I-15 to Idaho Falls. See below:
  Idaho Falls From Idaho Falls, drive north then west 50 miles on HWY 26 to Swan Valley. Turn here onto HWY 31 to Victor (21 miles). Travel southeast 24 miles on HWY 33/22 to the Idaho/Wyoming border, then over Teton Pass to Jackson.


Required innoculations:

Yes: If allergic to bee stings, be sure to bring bee sting kit; program takes place in isolated areas.

Elevation Note: Program sites and activities at elevations ranging from 5,267' to 9,000'.

Equipment Requirements: Durable water bottle, day or fanny pack to carry items on walks (water bottle, camera, etc.). You may wish to bring 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 to the Greater Yellowstone.
(Sunday, August 10)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive at lodgings in Jackson; check-in between 4 and 5 pm.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner at downtown restaurant
 Evening: Orientation and Introductions
   
Accommodations: 49er Inn and Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Snake River Rendezvous
(Monday, August 11)
   
 Breakfast: Expanded continental breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Introductory presentation of the Greater Yellowstone Area: an overview of the largest intact, temperate ecosystem on earth whose habitat continues to preserve the nation's wildlife heritage. Lodgings check-out. Docent-led tour of the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The museum contains approximately 4,000 works of art; its exhibitions and programs focus on wildlife of the world.
 Lunch: Lunch at museum restaurant
 Afternoon: Snake River scenic float offers pristine riparian habitat, exquisite views of the Teton Mountain Range, natural history interpretation. Expect to see waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, possibly deer. Continue north through Teton National Park for check-in at Jackson Lake Lodge Cabins.
 Dinner: Dinner at Jackson Lake Lodge Dining Room.
 Evening: Free evening; optional wildlife viewing from the back balcony overlook. Expect to see moose activity.
   
Accommodations: Jackson Lake Lodge Cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: On the Threshold of Wilderness
(Tuesday, August 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast Buffet at Jackson Lake Lodge Dining Room
 Morning: Continue exploration of Teton National Park with a morning boat trip across jewel-like Jenny Lake where a backdrop of the mighty Teton Peaks stuns the senses. Enjoy a moderate 1/2 mile hike to Hidden Falls, truly hidden and delightful.
 Lunch: sack lunches at String Lake
 Afternoon: Learn of early settlers in the Jackson Hole area; visit historic Chapel of Transfiguration and Menor's Ferry. Explore Discovery/Visitor Center at Moose.
 Dinner: Dinner at Jackson Lake Lodge
 Evening: Free evening for scenic and wildlife viewing aided by spotting scopes. Several walking and hiking paths on and near Lodge grounds.
   
Accommodations: Jackson Lake Lodge Cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Across the Great Divide
(Wednesday, August 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at Jackson Lake Lodge Dining Room
 Morning: Morning presentation is a snapshot of Yellowstone's Geology. Depart Teton National Park and journey north into Yellowstone country. Exploration will include either the Grant area or West Thumb Geyser Basin. Grant Visitor Center highlights, via exhibits and film, fire’s role in the ecosystem. Learn of the historic fires that swept through the area in 1988. Continue along Yellowstone Lake's wooded shoreline to West Thumb. The West Thumb Geyser Basin showcases some of the park’s deepest and most colorful hot springs. It is speculated that the Basin’s heat source is only 10,000 feet down! The thermal features here extend under the surface of the lake as well as along the shore. Climb westward from here and traverse 8,262' Craig Pass.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch enroute
 Afternoon: Enter the Upper Geyser Basin, home to the world's largest concentration of geysers. Here is the world's best known and most beloved hydrothermal feature - Old Faithful - offering thousands of gallons of scalding water and billowing steam gushing skyward with each eruption. What a grand welcome to the Old Faithful area. Check in at Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Become acquainted with the grounds - Old Faithful Visitor Center, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge and Old Hamilton Store.
 Dinner: Dinner at Old Faithful Snow Lodge Dining Room.
 Evening: Free evening to enjoy the Old Faithful area; relax, take an evening geyser walkabout, revisit the Visitor Center, enjoy an ice cream.
   
Accommodations: Old Faithful Snow Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: In the Valley of Geysers
(Thursday, August 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at Snow Lodge Dining Room.
 Morning: An in-depth exploration of the Upper Geyser Basin is led by your naturalist among hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles and geysers with splendid names - Grand, Plume, Beehive, Castle, Lion, Doublet. Find out about the hotspot beneath Yellowstone and the resulting geologic processes of volcanism, earthquakes, faulting and large-scale movement of the earth's crust. Alternatively, enjoy a tour of historic Old Faithful Inn with historian/author.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch enroute
 Afternoon: Discovery continues among Firehole River Valley thermal basins - Midway Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pot and Firehole Lake Drive. Several walks each day, up to two miles on moderate terrain - trails, stairs and boardwalks.
 Dinner: Dinner at Old Faithful Snow Lodge Dining Room.
 Evening: Optional ranger presentation.
   
Accommodations: Old Faithful Snow Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: In the Heart of Yellowstone
(Friday, August 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at Old Faithful Snow Lodge.
 Morning: Bid goodbye to Old Faithful and carry on to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, a massive and splendid wonder that is 20 miles long, 800' to 1200' deep and 1,500' to 4,000' wide. Time at Canyon's new Visitor Education Center offers state-of-the-art geology exhibits and insight into the world of Yellowstone today as well as a journey into its volcanic past. Here are interactive exhibits, animations, audio-visual productions and real-time scientific data that reveal the Yellowstone volcano and show how its geysers, hot springs and geologic history shape the distribution and abundance of all life found here today.
 Lunch: Picnic lunches in the Canyon area.
 Afternoon: An exploratory walk along the Canyon's South Rim to famed Artist Point Overlook reveals stunning geology, views of spectacular Upper and Lower Falls and the lovely pastel shades that describe perpendicular canyon walls, beautifully tinted by hot water's action on volcanic rock. Consider the geologic processes that created this mighty work - glaciers, a volcanic eruption, lava flows and huge ice dams. A late afternoon departure via Hayden Valley brings explorers to Yellowstone Lake's extensive 110-mile shoreline. The lake itself, an alpine lake extending 136 square miles, is so large that it often creates its own weather. Interpretation includes discussion of its fisheries, the fascinating volcanic activity taking place beneath its surface, the area's human history. Expect to see waterfowl, shorebirds, pelicans, perhaps moose. Arrive and check in at stately Lake Hotel, the "Grand Lady of the Lake." Architect Robert Reamer engineered its renovation in 1903, adding false balconies, ionic columns and extending the roof. The Hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, its centennial year.
 Dinner: Dinner at Lake Hotel Dining Room.
 Evening: Free evening to enjoy the hotel's spacious, glassed-in Sun Room with comfortable seating from which to enjoy the grand view of beautiful Yellowstone Lake, piano music and conversation or...time for leisurely strolling about the historic hotel grounds.
   
Accommodations: Lake Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: On the Grand Tour
(Saturday, August 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at Lake Hotel Dining Room.
 Morning: Travel northward tracing the mighty Yellowstone River as it exits Yellowstone Lake to finally break out into Hayden Valley's vast, wide open spaciousness. 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. Consider predator/prey dynamics, carrying capacity, wolf reintroduction. Keep camera and binoculars at the ready. Depart for the Mammoth area via 8,859' Dunraven Pass.
 Lunch: Lunch at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel Dining Room
 Afternoon: Walk the Mammoth Terraces to observe her ever changing, graceful travertine beauty; boardwalk, asphalt path and several hundred stairsteps (downhill). About two tons of travertine are deposited daily as hot, mineral-laden water wells up from beneath the earth's crust to add to terraces that began building thousands of years ago. Visit the Albright Visitor Center and Museum, built by the US cavalry during "Fort Yellowstone" times for history themed and predator-prey themed exhibits, the Moran and Jackson Galleries. Tour historic Fort Yellowstone. Mammoth is now the administrative center for Yellowstone National Park
 Dinner: Picnic supper in the park.
 Evening: Evening return to Lake Hotel. Enjoy evening's distinctive light and watch for wildlife.
   
Accommodations: Lake Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Mystique of the Mountains
(Sunday, August 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at Lake Hotel Dining Room
 Morning: Depart Lake Hotel for Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. Enjoy this visual review with supplementary interpretation while retracing the journey through both national parks. Appreciate time at the Colter Bay Visitor Center and its Indian Arts Museum in Teton National Park.
 Lunch: Picnic lunches enroute
 Afternoon: A relaxing two-mile lakeside hike is a fitting closure for the grand discovery. Arrive Jackson, Wy for lodgings check-in.
 Dinner: Dinner at Jackson restaurant
 Evening: Program Closing and Goodbyes
   
Accommodations: 49er Inn and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Homeward Bound.
(Monday, August 18)
   
 Breakfast: Expanded continental breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Independent departures
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Lake Station Yellowstone National Park
information for Yellowstone National Park visitors For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm
  Jackson Lake Teton National Park
visitor information For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/grte
  Jackson, WY Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce
Provides information about the Jackson and Jackson Hole area. For additional information, visit www.jacksonholechamber.com/
  National Museum of Wildlife Art
Housing an internationally acclaimed collection of sculpture, paintings and photography -all devoted to wildlife- the museum includes permanent and changing exhibits, Children's Discovery Gallery, library, museum shop and the Rising Sage Cafe. For additional information, visit www.wildlifeart.org/Frame_HomePage.cfm
  Jackson Hole Aerial Tram
A scenic ride up Rendezvous Mountain to an elevation of 10,450. Expect fun, goose bumps and spectacular views of Jackson Hole and surrounding mountain ranges. Bring a jacket. (888) 838-6606 For additional information, visit www.jacksonholewy.com/s-activities-aerial-tram.php
  Jackson National Fish Hatchery
Established in 1950 as part of the Palisades Dam Act, the hatchery today focuses on producing eggs and fish to cover fish losses on Federal water projects and for states, tribes and research facilities. It is located on the Fish & Wildlife Service's National Elk Refuge and is part of their National Broodstock Program. For additional information, visit www.fws.gov/jackson/
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


A Ranger's Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes


Author: Roger Anderson and Carol Shively Anderson


Description: Consider wildlife etiquette and tips for hiking in bear country then choose trails by area, difficulty and distance; appreciate highlights and naturalist notes while on the trail.



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.



Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone National Park


Author: George Black


Description: Consider the history of the exploration of Yellowstone National Park through this "historical account of the origins of America's majestic national landmark." The author's well-documented history is a realistic look at people and political and economic factors; his book is sectioned into Pathfinders, Civilizers, Soldiers, Explorers and Tourists. "He casts Yellowstone's creation as the culmination of three interwoven strands of history - the passion for exploration, the violence of the Indian Wars and the 'civilizing' of the frontier and charts its course through the lives of those who sought to lay bare its mysteries."



For Everything There Is A Season: The Sequence of Natural Events In The Grand Teton- Yellowstone Area.


Author: Frank C. Craighead


Description: Dr. Craighead describes and illustrates the hidden patterns he sees in the natural world. For naturalists, this book is a remarkable chronicle of the interrelationships between all living things. For anyone interested in the Teton-Yellowstone area and the entire Northern Rockies, this book opens the door to greater understanding of the natural cycles of one of America's last wild places.



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.'



Mountains and Plains, The Ecology of Wyoming Landscapes


Author: Dennis H. Knight


Description: Discover landscape ecology of Wyoming through maps, photographs, text and line drawings.



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.



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.



Yellowstone Wolves in the Wild


Author: James Halfpenny


Description: Color photographs of wolves in the wild meld with current studies, biology, reintroduction, history of packs, behavior, impacts on the ecosystem and eye-witness reports from scientists and wolf watchers. Here is the HOW and WHY of returning this key predator to Yellowstone. Appendices detail the histories and social status of original packs and pack members, maps and more.





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