When American President Calvin Coolidge signed the legislation protecting Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho in 1924, he called it "a weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself". In all of my travels to our national parks and monuments, I have never seen the word “weird” used to describe any of them other than Craters of the Moon. It truly is weird, but also fascinating.
Without a doubt the Yellowstone Wildlife Walks tour has one of the best itineraries of any Grand American Adventures tours. With three nights in the towering peaks and rugged wilderness of Glacier National Park, two nights in Jackson Hole Wyoming, allowing ample time to wander the breathtaking scenery of Grand Tetons National Park. Bear, elk, moose, big horn sheep, mountain goat and a seemingly endless variety of birds are plentiful.
But it is Yellowstone this tour is named after and you're given four days to explore the 2.2 million acres of wilderness; bison become an ordinary sight in the vast meadows, elk walk beside humans in the historic Mammoth village, and as we experienced recently, sometimes the grizzlies and black bears seem to go on parade and offer once in a lifetime experiences seeing these awesome predators.
The beauty of travel is that every day is its own mini adventure, you go places you’ve only read about, see things you hardly knew existed. But on every trip there’s that one special day, a thing I like to call THE BEST DAY EVER. Today was that day.
By all accounts, Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place. It is one of the three “crown jewels” of our national park system, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has half of all the world’s thermal features, over 10,000 in all, within its borders. Add to that North America’s highest concentration of large mammals, and we were all very excited for our visit.
From the ancient trees in Yosemite and Redwood National Parks to the snowy mountain tops in Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park we’re about to take you on a journey through some of western America's most special and beautiful national parks… are you sitting comfortably?
Olympic National Park is full of natural beauty, and a variety of ecosystems so close to each other that in a single day you can travel to a beach, a rainforest and a glacier, and still be back to camp in time for dinner. A national park that is often overlooked, Olympic is a difficult stop for a leader like myself, not because there is a lack of things to do, but rather a lengthy list of sites not to be missed, and fitting it all in is nearly impossible in a couple of days. As the leader of the tour it is my job to plan the days out to give the best experience in the park with our limited time. In parks like Olympic, it is usually my favorite spots that make it to the top of this “to do” list.
When most people book a Grand American Adventures tour, they are looking to leave behind the grind of their everyday lives, and escape to the wild National Parks of North America.
Jackson, Wyoming is a beautiful old west town located at the base of the Grand Teton mountain range. World renowned for its natural beauty, Jackson is also the base for dozens of interesting and exciting excursions. With so much to choose from, we had to get a jump on the day to make the most of our time there.
Today was our last day on the Olympic Peninsula and I’m sad to think we’ll be leaving tomorrow. What an incredible place! I had forgotten how much this place reminds me of southern Alaska, with the snow-capped mountains in the distance and big glacial rivers carving their way through thick rainforest. I love this place.