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Dear Bob and Sue: A National Parks Podcast
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Dear Bob and Sue: A National Parks Podcast

Author: Matt and Karen Smith

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In Dear Bob and Sue, authors Matt and Karen Smith share stories of their travels to all of the U.S. National Park as well as other spectacular public lands. From adventures gone awry to memorable moments and Q&As from readers, get to know the couple behind the books and get inspired to go on some adventures of your own.
16 Episodes
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Few places, if any, in the lower 48 states have remained as wild and undisturbed as Yellowstone National Park. Sure, there are roads and boardwalks throughout the park to accommodate the millions of annual visitors, but its wildlife and unique landscape remind you that this part of our great country has never been tamed. Out of all the 62 national parks that we’ve visited, there is no place like Yellowstone. Because of its size and the many points of interest, to really see and experience all the wonders of this park will require more than a visit or two, preferably in different seasons. In this episode of The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, we discuss our favorite places to visit inside the park and share a few tips we’ve learned from our trips. Some topics and places we discuss include: A brief history of the world’s first national park Why there are so many geysers in Yellowstone (That’s geysers, the things that shoot hot water into the air, not geezers.) Best times to visit the park A bit about the large mammals you’ll likely see Our favorite places in the different areas of the park: North, Central West, Central East, and more A few hiking tips and suggestions And, in our mail bag segment, we discuss why we didn’t narrate our Dear Bob and Sue audiobooks Links to more information: Yellowstone National Park’s website Map of the park Link to the free National Park Service interactive mobile app To see our photos from this adventure, click here. Where to learn more about our books and travels Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Check out our Instagram account Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14 Outdoorsy in Vegas

14 Outdoorsy in Vegas

2020-07-0901:00:06

Come on seven! Mama needs a new pair of shoes! Yep, you’re in the right place, this is still The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast. Except, this episode has a bit of a twist. In it we explore many of the great public lands that are within day-tripping-distance from—that’s right—Las Vegas. During our many visits to Sin City over the years, we’ve managed to take a few breaks from the general debauchery of The Strip to explore some of the magnificent outdoor attractions in the area. And there are many. So leave the sequined dress and sharkskin suit in your hotel room closet and join us as we get outdoorsy in the desert just beyond the glare of the neon signs. Some topics and places we discuss include: How and why we got started collecting National Park passport stamps Red Rock Canyon - a desert beauty with towering red cliffs offers an escape for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and even drivers who just want to cruise along the 13-mile scenic drive Valley of Fire State Park - this amazing park has a little bit of everything: petroglyphs, petrified wood, amazing rock formations, a slot canyon, and even an “elephant” arch Lake Mead National Recreation Area - America’s first and largest national recreation area boasts two lakes and nine wilderness areas with miles of hiking trails, showcasing its spectacular scenery whether you’re on the water or on a trail  Mojave National Preserve - Covering a whopping million and a half acres, this preserve has sand dunes, cinder cone volcanoes, and the world’s largest Joshua tree forest And, of course, at the end of the episode we answer a question from the mail bag Links to more information: Link to our blog post Outdoorsy in Vegas Red Rock Canyon homepage Valley of Fire State Park homepage Lake Mead NRA homepage Mojave NP homepage To see our photos from this adventure, click here. Where to learn more about our books and travels Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Check out our Instagram account Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Who doesn’t love an end-of-summer road trip? Few activities compare to the joy of packing a duffel bag full of stuff, filling the snack bag with Cheez-Its and animal crackers, and heading down the open road with all of your cares in the rearview mirror. It’s even better when you have a theme. In this episode, we talk about a buffalo-themed road trip we took across the northern plains states to some national and state parks where we visited as many public bison herds as we could fit into two weeks. You’ll also hear about some of the trails we hiked and places we visited along the way.  Some topics and places we discuss include: Fun facts about bison (or “buffalo” if you prefer) National Bison Range, Montana Theodore Roosevelt National Park, N. Dakota Bear Butte State Park, S. Dakota Custer State Park and the Black Hills, S. Dakota Badlands NP, S. Dakota Devil’s Tower, Wyoming Yellowstone NP Grand Teton NP And more Links to more information: National Bison Range homepage Learn about Custer State Park’s annual buffalo roundup festival To see our photos from this adventure, click here. Where to learn more about our books and travels Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Check out our Instagram account Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Over 120 years ago, the Klondike Gold Rush attracted more than 100,000 people from around the world with the lure of wealth and adventure. All that stood in the way of the prospectors’ dream of finding gold was a year-long journey to a remote area in the Yukon Territory, which included a treacherous 33-mile trail over a steep mountain pass in Alaska. Today, that trail—the Chilkoot Trail—lies within a national park; half in the U.S. and half in Canada. In this episode, we talk about our 2018 attempt to trace the gold rushers' footsteps and backpack the famous trail with our friends, John and Lolly. We share the story of an epic hike in the wilderness of Alaska that turned out to be one of our biggest adventures to date.   Some highlights from this episode include: How we got the idea in the first place to hike the Chilkoot Trail A brief history of the Klondike Gold Rush and what it was like for the prospectors who braved the journey Planning our trip and the logistics involved What it was like hiking the trail in August during one of the most torrential rainstorms in decades What went very wrong on the third day, as we attempted to summit Chilkoot Pass How we made it through our ordeal with the help of three excellent NPS rangers And hear from our special guests, John and Lolly, who join us on this episode    Links to more information: NPS site for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Seattle Unit and Skagway Unit To see our photos from this adventure, click here. Where to learn more about our books and travels Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Check out our Instagram account Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The five national parks in Utah are spectacular and draw millions of visitors each year for a good reason. But the public lands surrounding these parks are also packed with natural wonders worth experiencing. You could spend countless days visiting the national monuments, state parks, and tribal parks in southern Utah, gazing at their one-of-a-kind rock formations, hunting for ancient Puebloan ruins, and hiking through pristine landscapes. In this episode, we talk about some of the sites you should consider adding to your itinerary on your next road trip to the Southwest. Some of the places we discuss include: Monument Valley Goosenecks State Park (SP) Valley of the Gods Hovenweep National Monument (NM) Natural Bridges NM Bear Ears NM Goblin Valley SP Dead Horse Point SP Grand Staircase Escalante NM Cedar Breaks NM And more... Links: Photos from our top ten spots beyond Utah’s Mighty Five Link to our Youtube video about hiking Zebra Canyon in Escalante National Monument Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Our 20 Amazing Places PDF about Southern Utah in which we discuss the places covered in this episode and several more Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Teardrop trailers sure look cute and romantic, but what’s it like actually sleeping in one? Today we’re sharing what we learned as we camped in a teardrop trailer in three parks in southern California. Find out what additional equipment you may need to bring with you, the best situations to use a teardrop, and whether we liked it in the end. We also talk about the best seasons for visiting different parks in our mail bag section.  In this episode we discuss: Picking up the trailer Why winter may not be the best season for teardrop camping The camping sites and hikes we enjoyed in the Mojave Preserve, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley NPs Finding romance on Valentine’s Day in the national parks The importance of researching what season is best in what park Links: Photos from our trip with the teardrop Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
You’ll often see the same handful of National Parks topping the “best of” lists, but there are some real hidden gems out there too that are worth visiting. In this episode, we’re sharing our top five parks that have lower visitation numbers. We discuss how we got to these parks, what there is to do in each one, and what we loved about them. From island hopping at Dry Tortugas to hiking along a border river in Big Bend, join us as we venture through some of these lesser known parks. In this episode we discuss: Taking a boat to Dry Tortugas NP Big Bend NP along the Rio Grande River Karen sneaks Carlsbad Caverns onto the list The archeological sites at Mesa Verde NP Taking in the beautiful landscapes at Great Basin NP Why Lassen Volcanic NP is like a mini Yellowstone Links: Photos from our trips to Dry Tortugas, Big Bend, and more Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Of all the experiences we had while traveling to the U.S. national parks, bear watching in Katmai National Park is at the top of the list. Tucked away in a remote part of southwest Alaska, Katmai is truly a unique and exciting place to visit. During certain weeks each summer, visitors are pretty much guaranteed some phenomenal bear watching. Join us on this episode to hear stories about our incredible bear encounters and our recommendations for planning your own trip to Katmai. In this episode we discuss: Why Katmai became a national park in the first place Where it is and how to get to there What to do (and not do) if you have a close encounter with a bear Tips for the best places to view the brown bears in the park, and Our “interesting” bear encounters while visiting the park Links: Photos from our trips to Katmai Katmai National Park website Camping at Katmai Katmai Lodge website (replace this link with Brooks Camp at www.katmailand.com) Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Join Matt and Karen as they descend 750 feet underground to explore what Karen thinks is one of the most magical places in the entire U.S. national park system: Carlsbad Caverns. Matt’s not a huge fan of dark, scary holes, but he puts on a brave face during the couple’s multiple visits to this enchanted part of the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. You might want to have a flashlight or two close by when you listen to this episode, just in case the lights go out and you need to self-rescue your way back to daylight. That’s one of the lasting effect these cave visits had on Matt: he never goes anywhere now without at least a couple light sources with him. In this episode we discuss: The variety of cave tours offered at Carlsbad Caverns Which caves Matt and Karen visited Why Matt’s not a fan of caves What to know if you’re planning to attend the bat flight program The ranger speech that made Karen tear up Why Karen is thinking about becoming a scientist Links: Photos from our trips to Carlsbad Caverns Carlsbad Caverns NPS website Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Standing in waist-deep water while looking up at the towering canyon walls, the scene was breath-taking. Or, maybe it was the cold water splashing our midsections that was taking our breath away. Join us as we hike The Narrows, one of the most magnificent areas of Zion National Park. On today's episode, we talk about our experiences while hiking up the Virgin River through The Narrows, what to bring if you’re thinking of doing it yourself, and other how-to tips. In this episode we discuss: Why we’re wearing the same clothes in all of our National Park sign pictures The best time of year to hike The Narrows What to bring and what not to bring Why you might need a permit What we did for work before quitting our jobs to visit the National Parks Links: Photos from our trips to The Narrows The Narrows NPS website Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Have you ever wanted to take an RV on an adventure into the National Parks? So did we, so we rented one in Arizona and toured the southern part of the state for a week. Join us as we explore Chiricahua National Monument and other National Park units from the comfort of a 19-foot recreational vehicle. Along the way, we learn about the dos and don'ts of RV life, meet the nicest people in the RV community, and lament the untimely demise of Matt's tennis shoes. In this episode we discuss: Renting an RV from Cruise America Going to a gigantic RV show in Kansas City Hiking in Chiricahua National Monument How to use the dump station at an RV park RVing versus tent camping Links: Photos from our RV trip Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What's it like to wake up with a view of Crater Lake from your bedroom window? In this episode, we gleefully revisit some of our favorite National Park lodges and the adventures we had staying in them. We discuss the "parkitechture" and fascinating history to each of the lodges. We regale some hilarious stories from our stays at Crater Lake Lodge and El Tovar lodge at the Grand Canyon. We also talk about how to get reservations and some fantastic places for sunset viewing, In this episode we discuss: Staying in the largest log structure in the world in Yellowstone NP Watching bears from the deck in Glacier NP Wintertime stay at Zion lodge Ranger programs at Bryce Canyon lodge Twin beds at Paradise Inn in Mt. Rainier NP President Roosevelt's stay in Olympic NP on Lake Crescent An unexpected surprise at Crater Lake Lodge The mule-train journey taken by Matt's shorts in the Grand Canyon The public space at the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite NP Links: Photos from our trips to Yosemite, Yellowstone, and more Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Would you go into a fiery furnace on purpose if you knew you’d probably get lost, have to squeeze through narrow openings, and be forced to crab walk over sketchy boulders? Well, that’s exactly what we did, and we even waited in line for a permit to do it. The Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park is a special treat for visitors as only a limited number of people are allowed permits each day to hike through this magnificent maze of rock formations. We’ve visited the fiery furnace in Arches National Park a couple of times, and in this episode, we talk about our experiences along the trail. In this episode we discuss: Karen's fantasy of being an off-duty park ranger Our ranger-led tour into the fiery furnace Returning on our own and getting lost in the slot canyons, and How we live and work together 24/7 Links: Photos from our trips to the fiery furnace Recreation.gov Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Join us on our backpacking trip to Sahale Glacier in North Cascades National Park. Along with our friends John and Lolly, we braved the treacherous trail and a few overly friendly mountain goats to camp at the base of a glacier in a truly sublime setting. It was a strenuous, magical, and unforgettable journey. In this episode, we relive our trip into one of the most beautiful alpine areas in all of the national parks. If you ever want to make this trek yourself or would just like to hear about our challenging yet humorous adventure, this episode is for you. In this episode we discuss: Why we should stop reading the reviews of our books Our struggles with making it to Sahale Glacier Camp Why you should never separate when hiking as a group The toilet with the best view in the world And address a few questions from listeners like you Links: A video of us with the mountain goats Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01 Adventure in Alaska

01 Adventure in Alaska

2020-01-3043:471

It's here! Episode 1 - the very first episode of our brand new podcast. We can't wait for you to hear it! In this episode: A tour of the National Parks "visitor center" in our house The story of how we wrote the Dear Bob and Sue books A trip to Alaska that almost ended in disaster Answering questions from readers of our books Links: Photos from our Alaska trip The 2011 Seattle Times article about our near-disaster Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you! Our books Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Trailer

Trailer

2020-01-2202:501

Dear Bob and Sue launches January 30th, 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Comments (2)

Jenny Danek

Love everyone of the episodes! You have become my walking companions. Sadly, I am all caught up. Need more soon.

Jun 11th
Reply

Lisa Tranter

loved it! great hosts and so enjoyable. you can tell they are having a great time with the pod cast.

Feb 1st
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