Through Early Yel­low­stone: Ad­ven­tur­ing by Bi­cy­cle, Cov­ered Wagon, Foot, Horse­back, and Skis

Janet Chap­ple

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction - DIANE PROKOP

Gran­ite Peak Pub­li­ca­tions Soft­cover $29.95 (304pp) 978-0-9858182-6-5

Sto­ries and graph­ics com­bine to make Through Early Yel­low­stone a beau­ti­ful, in­for­ma­tive, and highly en­ter­tain­ing read.

Be­fore the com­ple­tion of the North­ern Pa­cific Rail­way line through Mon­tana Ter­ri­tory in 1883, ac­cess to Yel­low­stone Park was ex­tremely limited. Its pris­tine wilder­ness re­mained mostly un­seen un­til the late 1800s ex­cept by a hand­ful of hardy and brave souls who tra­versed moun­tains, rivers, geyser basins, and canyons in or­der to ex­pe­ri­ence its gran­deur.

Janet Chap­ple has col­lected writ­ings of some of these early ad­ven­tur­ers and as­sem­bled them into a won­der­ful an­thol­ogy, Through Early Yel­low­stone: Ad­ven­tur­ing by Bi­cy­cle, Cov­ered Wagon, Foot, Horse­back, and Skis. Its re­lease co­in­cides with this year’s cel­e­bra­tion of the cre­ation of the Na­tional Park Ser­vice in 1916.

The writ­ings be­gin in 1871, be­fore the park was a tourist destination, and con­tinue up to 1916, when au­tos were first al­lowed into the park. One of the ear­li­est vis­i­tors was Nathaniel Pitt Lang­ford, whose ex­pe­di­tion ac­count was in­stru­men­tal in the cre­ation of the na­tional re­serve. Also in­cluded is Frank D. Lenz, who left New York City in June of 1892 on his bi­cy­cle and reached Yel­low­stone in late Au­gust. In 1905, Eleanor Quack­en­bush Corthell, a mother with seven chil­dren, trav­eled 1,200 miles by horse and wagon to give her fam­ily a mem­o­rable va­ca­tion. And C. Han­ford Hen­der­son, a teacher, walked the en­tire Grand Loop Road of the park, cov­er­ing over thirty miles a day.

In­cluded in the an­thol­ogy are over fifty his­tor­i­cal pho­tos and en­grav­ings, maps, and wa­ter­col­ors. The twenty-six wa­ter­col­ors, painted by Welsh­man Thomas H. Thomas in 1884, have never been seen out­side of Wales un­til now and are par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy.

Sto­ries and graph­ics com­bine to make Through Early Yel­low­stone a beau­ti­ful, in­for­ma­tive, and highly en­ter­tain­ing read. Those who en­joy na­ture writ­ing or armchair trav­el­ing will find this book to be a unique op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence Yel­low­stone Park through the eyes of those who saw it first. Their awe and ju­bi­lance, ex­pressed in the par­lance of the day, charms and de­lights.

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