Travels of the Mind

A Yellowstone reading list to inspire summer adventure plans.

Before the big excursion
While waiting for the weather to warm up, enjoy a copy of Tracking the Spirit of Yellowstone: Recollections of Thirty-One years as a Seasonal Ranger. The compilation of essays by Orville E. Bach, Jr. covers his adventures and misadventures during educational moments with Park visitors as well as in his own personal time. Bach’s conversational voice delivers each vignette like tales shared by a campfire. Several line drawings by his wife, Margaret, complement the stories.

Plan your trip
With your appetite whetted for making your own memories, planning your trip will be easier with two recently released guidebooks. Exploring the Yellowstone Backcountry condenses Bach’s insights into a handy, lightweight Sierra Club Totebook. Hiking routes are ranked from simple afternoon jaunts to extended backpacking trips. Trip checklists, bear-country advice, and colorful natural-history snippets are provided throughout.

Take a hike
For a variety of short trail excursions, Robert Stone has compiled Day Hikes in Yellowstone National Park. The driving directions, maps, and trail tips will be familiar to local hikers who have worn hefty dog ears into Stone’s well-loved Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana. In the Yellowstone equivalent, over 80 hikes cover all the main attractions and also provide quick journeys into lesser-known regions.

Entertain the kids
During the drive to the hike, pack a copy of Janet Spencer’s Yellowstone Trivia for the kids to peruse in the backseat. From the length of time a moose can hold his breath to the number of reporters who covered the 1988 fires, the fun facts abound along with crossword puzzles and word scrambles.

Keep a Souveneir
After your peak climb or hot-spring tour, Portrait of Yellowstone, a new compilation of David William Peterson’s photography, makes a fine souvenir or gift book for visiting family and friends. With over 20 seasons of experience in northwestern Wyoming, his images capture intimate portrayals of both the geothermal sites and wildlife of the region.